Read this insightful article by Applied Humanities Newman University student Maria on the importance of volunteering for students.
“Making the decision to go to university for anybody can be very daunting.
With all the time spent on assessments, placements and studying we might feel reluctant to add more to our work load by volunteering. However, a lot of volunteering roles are very flexible and are able to fit around our other commitments. Organisations know the importance of volunteering as many of them can only run successfully with the help of unpaid workers. Students should definitely consider it as it is not entirely a selfless act, it’s also beneficial to you.
Volunteering is a huge way of gaining confidence. Whether students know what field of work they want to go into or not, it is a fantastic way to develop skills which you will maintain throughout your life. Some of us know exactly what career we want to go into so this hands-on experience will not only impress future employers, but also give us an insight into what these roles entail.
For the students that are unsure of what career choice they want to take, it’s a perfect opportunity to explore different paths. You may choose to volunteer for different organisations where you will discover your strengths and weaknesses, this is essential to knowing what career suits you the best.
Many students start off with unpaid roles however, getting to know people and getting your foot in the door often leads to paid work. Meeting new contacts is always useful but even if volunteering doesn’t lead to employment, these practical skills such as team playing, leadership roles, time management and problem solving will always be needed for future careers.
Volunteering will enable you to meet so many people with the same interests and values as your own. Not only will you be working on something that you care deeply about, but you will be doing it with other like-minded people. These friendships can continue throughout your life. Social skills are vital in any workplace and you can gain these in a fun environment.
Students are under a lot of pressure to succeed and this can take its toll on mental wellbeing. Taking a break from studying and giving up some free time to help others is very rewarding. The feeling of giving back to society to causes that so desperately need our attention can really give a sense of pride.
There is possibility that by volunteering you can make a real change to something you feel passionate about. Whether it be environmental issues, political or human rights, volunteering should not be underestimated. The community connects us all so improving it makes it a better place for us all to live in.
No matter what background you come from or what sector you want to go into, volunteering is for everybody. It’s important to remember that serving others often means we are more successful ourselves.”
– Maria Elizabeth Peach –