Why College is the Best Time to Start Volunteering

By Alisa Hrustic on February 6, 2014

Image Courtesy of TheSnapper.com of Millersville University

Homework, tests, student organizations, and working to make a little extra money easily bulk up your typical student’s daily schedule. So why, may you ask, would you want to add another activity to your already crazy to-do list?

Volunteering is the perfect opportunity to learn about yourself, while helping others in your community.

You Meet Some Interesting Characters

Volunteering puts you in places and situations you never would have found yourself in otherwise, and because of this you meet interesting people along the way. College, especially the first few years, are years of transition, and making friends and meeting new people isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Volunteering exposes you to groups of people that you have a common interest with. It’s also a great way to connect with adults that can serve as a strong reference when applying for jobs. If you’re an upperclassman, volunteering with a new organization is a way to get out of your typical friend group. Making more connections is never a bad thing; you never know who you’ll meet.

You Learn New Skills and Build Your Resume

Yes, volunteering should be about doing something to benefit other people, but you might as well take advantage of all the benefits it has to offer. Along with that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with offering your help to others, volunteering looks great on a resume and catches the eye of future employers. Showcasing that you make time to volunteer while in school, juggling a job, and being active with student organizations implies a sense of initiative and dedication to being involved with the community around you. Don’t volunteer to look busy, volunteer to be busy. Employers like someone who can be involved with multiple activities at once and it shows you have experience with other skills.

If you’re feeling ambitious, try volunteering at a place that requires doing things that you’re not a complete expert in or is a little out of your comfort zone. This gives you an opportunity to learn about an area that is foreign to you.

Find a Cause You’re Passionate About (Or Not….)

While you’re off meeting new people and building your resume, you may just find that you stumbled into something that you never thought you would be interested in if you didn’t embark on the experience in the first place. Often times people volunteer in places or with organizations that have nothing to do with what they’re majoring in (or sometimes everything to do with what they’re majoring in) and this can either solidify already present interests or introduce new passions. College is a time of major transition, development, and personal growth—get out there and expand that comfort zone.

Gain Understanding of Your Surroundings

Volunteering has the potential to connect you to your surroundings, especially if you don’t know the area well or wish to get more in touch with the place you call home. Getting involved with places you don’t necessarily hear about or visit every day can bring hidden issues in your community to light. It makes you more aware and more proactive in not only bettering the community for yourself, but for everyone around you.

Get involved on campus and get to know your city. It can only make you more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of what is happening around you.

The only thing you have to lose is a new experience, a new skill set, and new friendships while learning about yourself and the space around you.

Visit this site if you want to find more volunteer opportunities around you.


 (Want more from Alisa? Find stories here!)

I'm a Journalism student at the University of Iowa. When I'm not reading and writing, I'm probably creating a playlist somewhere while trying to find something new to read and write.

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