From classes to intramural sports to part-time work, you’ll have your hands full in college. But if you can, it’s wise to find time for community service as well. Your time is precious, but it’s worth noting that future employers will look for people with past community service. Beyond that, community service is a pathway to experiences that are both intrinsically and practically enriching. Community service in college may come with a lot of bonuses. Here are good reasons to become involved and some tips on how to do so:
There are many opportunities to volunteer, but you won’t learn about them if you don’t ask. Check with professors, advisors, classmates, houses of worship near campus, and any service organizations on campus for places to serve in the community, or research opportunities online. Try calling prospective organizations to learn how to get started and what you can do to serve. Check out the website www.volunteer.gov to see volunteer opportunities near you. Your area might even have a volunteer center. Visit your local center and find out how you can help.
Boost Your Résumé
Community service is a great way to enhance your résumé. Future employers like to see that you volunteer your time and that you maintain a well-rounded set of pursuits. It also shows them you know how to manage your time well, particularly for an unpaid position. Many organizations ask their employees to participate in some type of service, so prior experience in community service may demonstrate your compatibility with company culture. Furthermore, previous involvement in service suggests you work well with others, are generous with your time and energy, and are moved by charitable virtue, all characteristics likely to appeal to future employers.
Community service is a great way to meet new people and form connections that can be beneficial both while in school and after graduation. If you are majoring in nursing or a healthcare-related career path, for instance, and a free clinic exists near your campus, volunteering there could provide longterm benefits. The contacts you make may help you build a network that can help you land a job in your field. Not only does community service help you grow your professional network, it cultivates your social network as well. You’ll form connections with people you otherwise might not have met. Some may encourage you to follow your dreams, while others may push you out of your comfort zone into new and exciting areas.
Service opportunities are a fine way to gain and perfect working skills such as face-to-face communication, responsibilities delegation, and comfortably juggling multiple tasks at once. Though much of your formal education will take place in the classroom, community service engages you in direct, hands-on learning. The experience may allow you to put otherwise theoretical learning into practical application, and it may equip you with the kinds of skills you’ll use in a future workplace.
Explore Career Options
You may gain training through service opportunities that proves helpful to your major or your future profession. Volunteering may help you identify work you enjoy as well as work you just aren’t cut out for. The experience may prevent you from graduating with a degree that places you on a path toward a career you may later loathe. If you haven’t yet selected a major, these opportunities may grant you a foretaste of that future career. This can help you narrow down your options and gain a greater understanding of which occupation might fit you best.
Although community service is a excellent opportunity to enrich yourself while helping others, remember that you don’t have time for everything. Academics and health come first, so if you can’t make time for service opportunities, don’t spread yourself thin. Learn to prioritize and say no if an opportunity creates a perpetual time crunch. As a volunteer, others depend on you, so showing up and on time matters. Remember these organizations may serve as great references for future employers. Always put yourself in the best position to help others.
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