Written by: Chloe Morgan.
Photo by Ray Sangga Kusuma on Unsplash.
Volunteering is a fantastic thing to do throughout your uni experience. It enables you to put your time to good use to help others, develop your interpersonal skills, and build experience working in different environments. Volunteering is fun, exciting and rewarding. It is also something great to put on your CV and enhances skills to help you in later life.
Why get involved?
There are so many reasons you should get involved in volunteering whilst at university. Firstly, it brings lots of exciting opportunities to meet new people and try out different things that you normally wouldn’t get the chance to. It enables you to build experience, developing new skills and enhancing your current skillset, which will be beneficial for your CV, making you more employable.
University is a great time to do volunteering because you are likely to have less contact hours and therefore more spare time. So, why not use this time by giving back to others whilst also expanding your own skillset?
Research also suggests that volunteering helps mental health because the sense of accomplishment can improve your well-being, and helping others can keep you mentally stimulated. Research by Bupa supports this, finding that volunteering helped people in their recovery.
How to get involved?
Now we’ve established why to get involved, the real question is, how do you go about it? Volunteering opportunities don’t always fall at your feet (if only!), so it’s important to know where to find them…
Most universities have a students’ union and this is great place to find out about available volunteering opportunities. They often have a number of sections based on different interests to accommodate for everyone. Volunteering opportunities might include: dog walking, providing food for the hungry, helping in a nursery, and much, much more.
I went to Loughborough University, where the students’ union is extremely active. There are eight different sections to get involved in volunteering and each section has its own role within the union and outside, providing hundreds of opportunities to students. I volunteered predominantly within the Welfare and Diversity section and for the magazine in Media.
I absolutely loved getting involved in volunteering at Loughborough. It really enhanced my university experience, took me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to make lifelong friendships and memories. Additionally, having graduated last year, I am currently applying for jobs and the volunteering I did at university definitely stands out to employers. So, if you’re fortunate enough to have volunteering opportunities at your fingertips, grab them with both hands! I assure you; you won’t regret it.
However, I know from my friends that a lot of students’ unions aren’t as active as mine, so don’t fret if yours isn’t! There are plenty of others ways to get involved in volunteering. Firstly, make sure you keep your eyes peeled – actively looking for opportunities is essential. A quick Google search or browse on social media will greet you with more opportunities than you could imagine. It’s worth looking directly on your university website too, and keeping up to date with your emails, as often unis will send newsletters with volunteering opportunities. Depending on what kind of voluntary work you fancy getting your teeth into, opportunities are often advertised on job platforms like LinkedIn, or directly on company websites. Friends or lecturers might know about opportunities too. So, there isn’t a shortage of ways to get involved, but do keep your eyes peeled and make sure you actively search for them.
Volunteering is a fantastic experience socially, personally and professionally. It can be so much fun getting involved in something new, meeting like-minded people and building skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life. So, grab volunteering opportunities with both hands and dig your teeth into them because I can’t stress enough how rewarding and invaluable volunteering throughout uni is. Finally, however, do remember that you come first. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew and remember that your health and education always comes first.