Telephone Campaign – Phoning for the future

Telephone Campaign 2017 room
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By Genevieve, 2017 caller

Following two days of training starting with the ideal but elusive ‘perfect call’ and then covering all and any sticky situations that may arise I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I wasn’t absolutely terrified to begin the actual calling! Although we had gone through many scenarios; practiced and rehearsed many times; done multiple role-plays; repeated different versions of our written and prepared individualised scripts; learnt the overarching narrative framework…I was still a little nervous about speaking on the phone! Yet there was a part of me too, a tiny part, that also couldn’t wait to get started, that anticipated the putting-into-action all of the practice and training that we had gone through over the past 48 hours.

And so it was this, albeit small, part of me that I harnessed when going through the information for my first call. Carefully I read their notes, made my preparatory introduction and dialled their number, waiting with baited breath for an answer. But, alas, no answer came. A mixture of relief and frustration as I tried all other numbers but to similar futile attempt. No one was picking up. Undeterred I moved on, anticipating the next prospect in a similar manner. Yet, again, no luck! After six unanswered calls my nerves strangely seemed to dissipate as I frantically hoped for someone to pick up the phone!

Finally – yes – a voice on the other end! My call had been answered! A nice conversation followed, as I enjoyed talking to her about her year abroad in a patisserie in France, her current business and how it had evolved from her own experiences at Trinity Hall. Discussing Trinity Hall brought us together over the phone as we shared memories of June Events, undergraduate hobbies, friends, and the notorious ‘Vivas’ of Trinity Hall – now in a redesigned and updated bar and under a new name: ‘Crescent Room’. A pleasant conversation yet no donation in conclusion. However, I persisted, reinvigorated at having had a genuinely nice chat, and after a few more calls I hit gold in more ways than one!

My next answer was golden in both senses of the word: a lovely, shining and bright personality greeted me in friendly tones over the phone and concluded in a generous annual donation! Although the donation did boost my spirits considerable as the bottle of wine reached my table (!), it was the conversation that I enjoyed the most! A friendly recent graduate, coming back for his MA Celebration and Reunion this Saturday, shared all his memories and fond happy times at Trinity Hall with me. His involvement in sport, his year abroad, his anecdotal tales of breaking into Johns’ May Ball…making me laugh over the phone as I re-imagined the stories of his undergraduate days – not so long before my own!

It struck me how college memories can bring would-be strangers together, how sharing reminiscences over past university experiences through the mutual lens of college life can enable conversation over any medium and, not for the first time, I thought myself how lucky and privileged I am to be allowed to be a part of this wonderful and unique experience. That, partly, compelled me to take part in the Telethon campaign this year and will definitely motivate me moving forward to trickier calls and stickier situations – as well as pleasant experiences hopefully (!) – to come. Knowing that I am not only ‘phoning for the future’, to enable others to benefit as I have done, but also knowing that I am phoning for myself, phoning as a way to say ‘thank you’ for everything that I have benefitted from. For, although only one day on, the telethon has already enabled me to do this: to secure future aid and to say thank you for the wonderful experiences I have had so far and hope to continue to have here at Trinity Hall!