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5 reasons to become a student volunteer
You may have thought about becoming a student volunteer in the past, but haven’t done anything about it. However, with this week being Student Volunteering Week, we believe there’s no better time to get involved; or at least start thinking about how you can get involved with volunteering in the future.
Under normal circumstances, finding volunteering opportunities would be a lot easier. From helping out at your students’ union, working in the local charity shop or mentoring younger adults, to fundraising at university or helping out at the annual half marathon event in your city, there’s something for everyone and all interests.
However, with the current pandemic and restrictions still in place, some of the usual volunteering activities may be temporarily on hold. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities at all. There are still many people in need of support and you can even do voluntary work virtually. For example, you could volunteer for a charity where you speak to an elderly person over a video/phone call to help combat loneliness. Or you could volunteer to help collect essential shopping for your elderly neighbours or those who are shielding.
Besides the fact your helping others, there are a whole host of benefits to volunteering. Below are just some of the reasons to get involved in volunteering as a student.
1. You’re making a difference
The reason for you volunteering in the first place is because something needs improving or others require additional support. So, whether it’s litter picking in the community, talking with the elderly, working with children or helping out at charity fundraising events, your help and support can make a huge difference to your community and those around you.
2. You become part of the community
Talking of community, becoming a volunteer in your local area will help you to get involved with your community. As a student, it’s easy to become wrapped up in your own world of university and students. Forgetting that a wider community of other people and places exist. Becoming a volunteer will broaden your horizon and you’ll probably learn new things about the city or town you’re living in, and uncover new places you didn’t even know existed – especially if you’re new to the city or town! And it’s a great way to meet new people too (even if it’s over a Zoom call!).
3. You can meet new people
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and widen your social circle in the process. The people you meet will also have a passion for the cause you’re volunteering for. So, it’s likely they’ll share some of the same interests as you. But if they don’t, it’s not a bad thing. Meeting a diverse range of people means there’s a chance for you to learn from them. They may open your eyes to new skills, new ways of thinking and share their own experiences and knowledge with you.
4. Boost your skills and experience
Not only can you expand upon your own knowledge by learning from the people you meet, but the activities and work you do whilst volunteering will also help widen your skill set and give that CV a boost. Specific skills will vary depending on the extent of the work you’re doing. But there are many transferable skills such as time management, organisation and communication/social skills; all of which will set you up for work in the ‘real world’ as they can be applied to most workplaces.
Having voluntary work listed on your CV will also show potential future employers part of your wider personality and what you are passionate about. It can highlight the fact that in addition to your studies, you’ve also committed the time to the cause. And for some jobs you apply for after graduating – such as non-profit or charity organisations, having prior work experience as a volunteer will be essential.
5. Improve your wellbeing
Volunteering is not only good for those you’re helping, but it’s also great for your own wellbeing. Knowing that you’re doing something valuable for the community or lifting the burden of others, shows that you care and should make you feel pretty good about yourself.
And if all of the above wasn’t enough, volunteering is the perfect way to fill your free time; especially at the moment whilst there isn’t much else to do. So, instead of lounging around watching Netflix or TikTok videos, volunteering will keep you busy whilst benefiting from all of the things listed above in the process!
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