I’ll start off by saying, volunteering isn’t necessarily the altruistic endeavour that many may think it is. In fact, I think it is a two way exchange in which the volunteers benefits from the experience, just as much as the parties being assisted.
I started volunteering in my first year of university, and completed my four years with four different opportunities in volunteer capacities. It was easily the best decision I could have made during my undergrad. And while I did get a lot of intrinsic value from these experiences, there are many tangible benefits to volunteering during these years in school. Let me explain:
1. Employers hire people, not degrees
You, and thousands of other people are going to graduate with a degree similar to the one your name is written on. What is going to set you apart from the others? It will be the experience you have under your belt; the skills and experiences that you get will make you competitive.
2. Networks outside of your peers
Networking with university students before they become the successful lawyers, entrepreneurs, business men and women they will be one day is good - but meeting those who have established themselves in the working world is even better. Contacts in organizations that you may be interested is invaluable if you are able to find mentors.
3. Develop new skills
My undergrad was in sociology. And while I’m appreciative of the critical thinking, research and communication skills, more tangible and practical skills are assets that can be exploited in the job market. This really ties in with point number one, but I also want to add the significance of being competent in multiple facets. Being familiar with many of the programs, procedures or duties that future employers will expect you to know is a great asset that volunteering allows for.
Maybe our favourite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.
I love reggae music in the summer time.
Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch.
Still on plan A.