Next up is Raphaella; an 18-year-old History of Art student at the University of Glasgow. After finishing her degree she hopes to find work in the fashion industry, and is sure that working with GUCFS will give her invaluable experience. Her involvement with GUCFS began last year, when she worked as a Brand Ambassador (applications for #GUCFS17 BAs will be open in September!) and this year she is working as the Womenswear Representative on the Committee.
What are your reasons for volunteering for the skydive?
In the past year or so I’ve really become mindful of how suffering from a mental illness can affect people on a day-to-day basis and how crippling the stigma surrounding it can be- so I was delighted that we could partner up with SAMH this year.
1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health issue throughout their life, yet lots of people don’t treat mental health issues with the same seriousness as physical ones, which I think is a big part of the problem.
I read recently that student suicide rates have escalated to their highest level since at least 2007 which is such a distressing statistic. It shouldn’t be that high. As students ourselves I feel it is our duty to help try and reduce this and help universities support anyone who might be struggling.
I hope that through the skydive and GUCFS’ efforts throughout the year, we can promote a positive discussion across campus about mental health. We need to show that it’s OK to talk about and shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked.
Are you nervous for the big jump?
Yes. A lot. But also extremely excited. Despite watching videos and hearing stories from friends who have done skydives, I’m not really sure what to expect and can’t even begin to imagine how I’ll feel during the actual jump.
How have you been preparing?
In terms of the jump itself, I went straight to YouTube to get a bit of an idea about what the build up to the jump and the actual jump might be like- but it just made me feel a bit sick so I haven’t done that since and I’m just planning on rocking up on the day and hoping I don’t hurt the ears instructor that I’ll be attached to from screaming.
I’m really happy to share that I’ve hit the fundraising target set by SAMH. I’m holding a small fundraiser just before the jump on the 22nd of August for friends so I really hope I can raise over £500 in total!
What do you think the most exciting part of the jump will be?
I’m dreading getting on the plane and flying up the most, but think after the initial shock of launching out of a plane at 10,000 feet and free-falling it’ll be the most insane feeling and I’ll probably want to do it all over again! I’ll also be amazing knowing I’ve done it for such a worthy cause.
How have your friends / family reacted to the whole thing?
They’ve all been really fab! When I first told my Mum I was going to do it, she said “you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to” and looked really worried. I’m quite stubborn and determined and I told her I was 100% doing it. I think she’s since gotten used to the idea of me launching myself out of a plane...
I don’t think many of my friends expected me to do something as rash as a skydive, but they’ve all been so amazing sharing my fundraising page, spreading the word and helping me reach my target. They’re all excited for my fundraiser and know it’s a cause I’m really passionate about so have been so encouraging, but I think they’re also looking forward to having a giggle seeing footage of me looking completely petrified and making some bizarre, not particularly aero-dynamic faces.
What, if not heights, are you most afraid of?
I’ve never been the biggest fan of heights and usually feel a bit queasy on really tall, steep escalators like you get on the underground (not promising for the jump!), but I’m also terrified of belly buttons, clowns and things that go round in circles really quickly like round-a-bouts or the spinning teacups at Disneyland.
To learn more about the wonderful work that SAMH does, go to https://www.samh.org.uk/
To donate: Raffy's Justgiving page is linked below or you can also text RAFY55 £1 to 70070.