If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you that the Christmas period is my favourite time of year. Why? Because for one month the spirit of giving is on everyone’s mind. There are so many wonderful ways that you can give – not just in December but all year round! The most convenient and finance-friendly way to do this is through volunteering.
We are fast approaching the end of the semester and with two exams, three essays and a group presentation coming up in January who has time to volunteer? You do! Based on first-hand experience I can honestly say that you can make volunteering fit around your busy schedule. I will share four things that you should keep in mind when deciding if volunteering is for you:
Find a cause you are passionate about and stick with it
The likelihood is you will spend a considerable amount of time talking to potential employers about the volunteering you are currently involved in. It is important that you can talk confidently about the charity and the role you play in the organisation. Not only will volunteering with a charity that you like make the experience more enjoyable but it will also help employers see your dedication and commitment, which is a desirable trait in a potential employee (as you will carry that same work ethic into your new job role).
Volunteering is a great way to give back if you can’t donate financially
A lot of people have causes that are close to their heart and depending on your interests that can range from climate change to homelessness. As students, many of us might want to help further a cause we care about but simply can’t afford to during this stage of our lives. Donating your time is invaluable and will be appreciated by whatever charity that you choose to get involved with.
Think about what it is you want to gain from your voluntary role
Like you would for a normal job, it is important to have objectives that you hope to achieve through this charitable experience. Contrary to popular belief, volunteering is not a one-sided experience. If you are really committed, volunteering becomes a mutually beneficial opportunity. I have learned so much about myself when I have been challenged to look beyond my own needs and help someone else.
Only commit to the number of voluntary hours that you are comfortable with
Charities will understand that as a student your main priority is your degree. If you can only volunteer for one hour a week or four hours fortnightly, it doesn’t matter. What truly counts is the thought. You might think you aren’t giving enough time but every minute you spend volunteering has the potential to change lives even if you don’t see it!
Written by Destiny Bright
To read more on volunteer opportunities, have a look at the following links:
- https://www.ussu.co.uk/community/volunteering (Volunteering opportunities – Surrey Student’s Union)
- https://do-it.org/ (A database of volunteering opportunities nationwide)