As students, we often find ourselves drowned in textbooks and lectures, focused solely on academic pursuits. However, volunteering can be an excellent way in which students can develop outside the realms of academia and on a personal level. In this blog, I will share my own journey and shed light on the immense benefits of volunteering during university.
The idea of volunteering caught my attention, in the summer of my first year and I decided to take the leap, so I joined a local Cancer Research Shop as a volunteer working on the shop floor. Because the work was during the summer when my academic workload was minimal, so it was relatively easy to maintain volunteering commitments.
However, this isn’t the only way in which students can volunteer, volunteering during term time can be a powerful catalyst for personal and professional development. It allows you to step out of your comfort zone and gain valuable life experiences as engaging with diverse communities exposes you to different perspectives, broadening your horizons and fostering empathy.
One of the unexpected benefits of volunteering at university is the network and connections you can establish. I found myself surrounded by like-minded individuals who shared my passion for making a positive impact. Through various volunteering events and initiatives, I connected with professionals from different fields who inspired me and offered invaluable advice and mentorship. These connections can open doors to internships, job opportunities, and even lifelong friendships.
Furthermore, volunteering during university can greatly enhance your employability as employers are increasingly seeking candidates who possess not only academic knowledge but also a sense of social responsibility as volunteering demonstrates your commitment, work ethic, and ability to contribute to a larger cause. It can set you apart from other applicants and gives you a unique story to share during job interviews.
Volunteering, like any worthwhile endeavour, comes with its fair share of challenges. Balancing academics and volunteering may require careful time management and prioritization. At times, you might encounter setbacks or face obstacles in your efforts to make an impact however, perseverance and resilience are key to overcoming these challenges keeping in mind that the goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Volunteering at university is a transformative journey that shapes not only your personal growth but also your future. It offers a wealth of benefits, from skill development and networking opportunities to emotional fulfilment and enhanced employability. Embrace the opportunity to step outside the lecture rooms and into the world where your actions can create lasting change. Together, let’s make a difference and leave a positive mark on society.
Some practical tips to get started in volunteering by looking into the university’s volunteering projects that it has to offer such as external charity projects and student-led projects carried out by the student union which any student can be apart of.
Together, let’s make a difference and shape a better future. Start volunteering today!