In my few years of experience, I have realised one of many things – firstly that my passion won’t come to me if I just think hard enough (and believe me, I tried!) And two, discovering my potential will only surface from experimenting, and volunteering became the gateway for this to materialize.
Graduating from University was great – my thoughts, ‘thank god this chapter is over’ just kidding, I loved Psychology! However, I was confused about the direction to move in, in fact I didn’t consider volunteering a method to explore what I liked, it was more of a tick-box souvenir for my cv. With the right support, I peered through a new lens and began seeking out opportunities aligning with my area of interest and the skills I wanted to develop.
From volunteering as a radio presenter, being a caseworker, to delivering cakes. Each experience has carved ambition, inspiration, and spurred me in the right direction.
So people I want your attention.
Here are a few benefits of volunteering through my eyes:
- Enhances Career Prospects – Looking good on your cv is one thing, equating to valued experience for a job is another. Volunteering gives you an environment to practice and hone skills needed in the workplace, and provides the flexibility to experiment with new avenues. Volunteering as a caseworker gave me the freedom to develop the skills and experience I needed to move into a different sector, whereas my job had me firmly cemented and confined to the details. I benefited the most from ‘on the job training’. Training provides the confidence to perform at your level best and creates awareness of other opportunities that may be unknown otherwise. (First Aid here we come) And of course it looks good on your cv!
- A Sense of Purpose: Yes! volunteering helps you focus on fulfillment of the soul. I began volunteering to gain some experience whilst job hunting but didn’t quite know what to expect. The supportive environment Amina MWRC provided me, enabled me to step into the world of blogging and embolden the speaker out of me. We all possess an innate desire to give to others and in that process if we can discover our passion, there is no greater accomplishment. Making a difference to people’s lives and spreading positivity, benefits the community, and may inform you of vital issues that need attention. Often overlooked, volunteering gives you an insight into what you don’t like and areas of improvement, aiding in making informed decisions for the future.
- Engage and Connect – Socialising and having a good circle of friends, is for many people at the top of the list. Engaging in a joint activity not only exposes you to new people who share your interests, it also creates the perfect surroundings for new friendships to blossom. In our busy lives, we may not cross paths with many new people, making us feel isolated in the circles we engage with. Coming together for a shared cause, reduces the pressure to make new friends and allows people to ease into relationships.
- Improves Mental Health & Confidence – The more good you do for others, the better you feel. Scientifically speaking the health benefits of volunteering contribute to improved mental and emotional well-being. With increased conversation around mental health it is vital to establish self-care and powerful support systems. Feeling part of something larger and committing to positively impacting society, enables happiness and increased motivation. In turn drawing out some closet creatives, and awarding the world with their genius!
Ok so some lessons to consider, take the opportunity. There were certain aspects that made me anxious, but in-house training encouraged me to perform well in various roles, providing the foundation to delve into unknown areas. Learning from mistakes along the way I managed, and I don’t think I could have developed in a more relaxed environment.
I’ve created a bit of a volunteering bucket list and thought it would be interesting to “put it out there,” so you could all hold me accountable. Pressure much? I would like to volunteer abroad to teach English, experience another city, another culture… Shout out to my Canadian friend/colleague who tells us amazing stories! I want to embrace more opportunities in the third sector, to exercise public speaking and shake my fear of slipping up. I solemnly swear that I will volunteer for people and places that inspire me and bring me a step closer to my future prospects. #Harrypotterreference
I would like to take this opportunity to say less thinking more action! In 2019 may we march out of our comfort zones and seize the opportunity completely.
Are you convinced yet?