For college and university students, it can seem like there isn’t enough time to complete all of your studies, let alone to volunteer for a non-profit organization. Though it may be difficult to find the time, you may be missing out on a variety of benefits that can not only make you a better student, but improve your career prospects once you graduate.
The act of volunteering can benefit your overall health. For example, many people experience stress-reducing benefits when they take the time to focus on someone less fortunate, whether that is other people or animals. It can also help foster feelings of empathy while also building one’s self esteem.
Certain opportunities may come with additional health benefits as well. Those volunteering with no-kill animal shelters may have an opportunity to interact with and play with the animals. This can be especially beneficial to people who cannot have pets in their homes, or dorm rooms, as you can gain the benefits associated with interacting with a pet in a way that helps prepare that animal for a new forever home.
Volunteering also provides you an opportunity to gain experience in a particular field or performing certain job duties. With the wide variety of non-profit organizations currently operating, the likelihood that you can find one that is appropriate for your goals is high.
For example, if you are interested in international affairs or policy creation, volunteering with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies may provide valuable experience. If you want to help bring clean drinking water to those living in less developed nations, then you may be interested in volunteering with The Water Project.
The experience gained may directly correlate to your area of study, or may provide skills that can be used in a variety of employment opportunities. Regardless of your major, computer skills are always valuable, as well as those centered on customer service. Some volunteers assist with event planning, which can include interaction with a wide variety of area business or other organizations.
While working as a volunteer, you will be able to interact with other members of the community who have similar interests to your own. This provides an automatic connection that can bring people together regardless of the other aspects of their background. While some may argue that attending classes provide enough opportunities for social connections, others who may have difficulties engaging other students and may find socializing in this manner to be less intimidating. Additionally, it also provides a connection that is centered on something other than school and classes, providing a break from that experience.
Aside from the other volunteers or organizational employees, you will experience social benefits when interacting with the people who are helped by the organization. This is highlighted by everyone working towards a specific goal, and being able to see how that work directly impacts those in need. While people working with larger organizations may not have the opportunity to see the benefit of their work in action, those working as volunteers for non-profits may be able to experience this on a regular basis, which can provide a sense of personal accomplishment as well as the joy of being able to help someone in their time of need.