Maybe in high school you were required to do a certain number of community service hours in order to get your degree, or a club or organization required volunteering in order to be a member in good standing. But many students, after they’ve gotten their diploma and moved on to college, tend to forget about all that community service they did in high school. In the midst of challenging classes and new and exciting extracurricular activities, it can feel like you don’t have a lot of time for volunteering.
But spending some of your time giving back to your community has a lot of benefits, both for those you’re serving and for you. Below are just a few of the reasons you should consider volunteering in your community, even if it isn’t required by your school or by a club or organization:
- A sense of accomplishment. This is probably the benefit you’ve heard about most often, that good feeling you get from helping others. One of the biggest rewards of serving your community is the knowledge that you’ve done something good, whatever your service was.
- Boost your resume. This is something that almost all college students are concerned about, and for good reason. Volunteering is a great addition to any resume – it shows commitment, time-management skills, and a dedication to your community, all of which reflect positively on you as a potential employee!
- Learn new skills. Depending on what kind of volunteering you’re doing, you may be building skills that can help you in other areas of your life, or even in your career. If you know another language, working with immigrants or refugees in your community is a great way to practice your skills while serving others. Other types of service may help you build computer or interpersonal skills that you can use in the future.
- Explore new interests. Again, this depends on the type of service you’re doing, but volunteering can be a great way to explore new career fields or interests that you may have. In addition to the skills you’re building, you’ll also have a be able to visualize yourself in a particular field before you ever get a job!
- Network, network, network. You hear it over and over again from your parents, your professors, and the career center. And volunteering is a great way to do it! Not only do you get to know your fellow volunteers, but you also can connect with professionals in the field in which you’re doing your community service. This is especially important if you’re interested in entering the field after college!
- Helping others. This is by far the most important reason to volunteer – giving back to your community. Any service is good service in some way, but community service that comes from a genuine desire to help others and to improve your community will have the most benefits for both you and those you’re serving.
It can be hard to carve out time from a busy schedule to find an hour or two a week to volunteer, but it’s definitely worth it!