Volunteer Opportunities: Why Should I Give My Time?

By Coach Chelsea   Volunteering is a rewarding activity that serves multiple purposes. Not only are you assisting other people, you may gain valuable experience in your intended career field! It can also be an opportunity to show colleges that you are good at balancing your time and that you are a well-rounded student. Furthermore, it could help you obtain some important interpersonal skills that are essential for interacting in the “real world.” Whatever your motivation may be, it’s important to find volunteer work that suits your individual interests and needs.   Gaining hands-on experience in the career field that you are interested in may be one of the best ways of determining whether or not that career is right for you. While volunteering in a related position, you’re able to get a first-hand view of some of the daily tasks involved in that career. Experiencing the responsibilities related to that field is the perfect way of seeing whether or not it’s for you. It’s also a great way of reassessing your options if you feel that some of your expectations aren’t being met. Asking yourself questions such as, “Does this field include most of my top interests?” and “Can I see myself doing this for the long-run?” is vital for deciding which career is the best-fit for you.

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In addition to offering more experience in a career field, volunteering also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your multitasking skills to colleges! Most schools are interested in students that exhibit both a satisfactory academic performance and involvement in extracurricular activities such as volunteer work. Participating in volunteer activities also shows schools that you have the ability to balance your schoolwork and extracurricular affairs. This indicates that you may be able to thrive academically at their school while still contributing services on campus and in the community. Finding volunteer opportunities within your local community can be a simple task. You could begin by researching volunteer opportunities at facilities that relate to some of your top interests or house careers that you may want to look further into. If you need assistance with how to begin finding volunteer opportunities, please contact a CAA coach!   Once you actually begin volunteering, you may notice that your people skills, also known as “interpersonal skills,” greatly improve. Interaction with other people in a “real-world” setting can prepare you for being more equipped to deal with people in your career. During this time, you should take the opportunity to hone skills in the areas of problem-solving, communication, listening and other areas that may be beneficial for you to function in everyday work situations. Focusing on the development of social skills while participating in volunteer work can provide a gateway for potential networking relationships, friendships, and an overall healthy lifestyle.   If you make volunteering a lifelong activity, it will continue to generate essential life skills.  Participating in volunteer work at a young age will help you become more familiar with the process and make you more likely to keep volunteering throughout your life. Whether you are volunteering for the experience, educational benefits, or the intrinsic rewards, you’re sure to come out of it with a greater understanding of what it means to give back and how to be an asset to your community. Take some time to review the activities that relate most to your field of interest to optimize your experience! Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/9MnD3k

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