Student volunteer Josh shares his top 4 reasons why everyone should volunteer:
“Growing up, I was involved in a wide variety of voluntary work, from charities to scouting, but when I arrived at university this somehow fell aside.
I was working part-time to pay the bills, studying to get a degree, with a little bit of time to enjoy my new found independence and social life. This was more than enough to do without adding volunteering to the mix!
However, I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. Volunteering has turned out to be one of the standout parts of my time at university, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything”
Reason #1. To help others
As a university student, you are in an incredibly privileged position within the society, even if it may not feel like it. You’ve been fortunate enough to have access to the world of higher education and the wealth of knowledge and opportunities that come with it. Yet millions of people in the world will never have this chance, whether that is due to finance, gender, sexuality, religion, political regime, social situation or various other barriers. Giving just 1 or 2 hours of your week, month or even year can provide others with the kind of opportunities that we all take for granted.
Reason #2. To build professional networks & develop skills
The main motivation for volunteering should be to help other people, however it doesn’t mean that you will not gain from it. Volunteering gives you the chance to develop professional relationships with organisations, charities, and numerous industry contacts that you might not meet otherwise. You’ll also get the chance to develop your own professional skills, including time management, organisation and leadership as well as any specific technical or creative abilities that are dependent on the sector in which you volunteer.
Reason #3.To share your experiences
You have a lot to give and you’re the only one who can give it, because there’s only one of you. Think about each of the experiences you’ve had in your life, how much you’ve learnt and how you can now pass this knowledge onto someone else. As a Trans* identified individual, I offer mentoring, support and advocacy to people in a similar position to me. I know how difficult it can be to navigate the necessary medical and legal systems, and how isolating being Trans* can be in a society that pretends your identity is invalid. Learning from these experiences has enabled me to pass on advice to others, in order to make their journeys as smooth as possible. Volunteering does not only positively change the lives of others, but it can also affect your own.
Reason #4. If you don’t, who will?
Regardless of how busy you think you are, I’d like to argue that everyone can find a little bit of time to help someone else. No matter how little you think you’re able to do, even the smallest amount of time can make a huge difference to somebody else’s life. Not only that, but it may well enhance your future prospects in ways that you could never foresee. For example, I’ve often been sat across the room from CEO’s, company directors and media producers that I would have never had the opportunity to meet or network with outside of voluntary work.
So there you have it, my top 4 reasons for why you should volunteer. Now get out and do it! You never know where volunteering can take you!
The Volunteering & Employability (V&E) department is located in The Hub, Room 1.25. They can assist Coventry University students and staff with secure rewarding volunteering placements within CUSU and the local community. Simply register online to get involved!