‘Tis the season of end of term quiz nights, society balls, and Christmas ceilidhs. As the semester draws to an end and your time starts to free up again, why not look into volunteering opportunities?
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping those in need, especially at this time of year. But with so many worthy causes out there, where do you begin?
Volunteer groups, such as VolunteerGlasgow, provide a portal to find allthe opportunities in your area. No matter if you’re interested in working in a charity shop, fundraising on the street, or working with animals, the possibilities are endless, and there’s something everyone will enjoy.
— Volunteer Glasgow (@volunteerglasgo) December 4, 2018
Amanda Salisbury is a Radio Broadcasting student at the University of the West of Scotland. As a member of the Girl Guiding Association in her youth, Amanda decided to volunteer when she left the Girl Guides.
“I help out with their badges, which involves a lot of cooking, or first aid,” says Amanda. “The best part is definitely helping others, and seeing them improve their skills. It’s really nice to watch them enjoy learning and grow their confidence.”
Not only does volunteering have far-reaching benefits, it also improves personal health and wellbeing: volunteers report increased life satisfaction; a better sense of meaning and purpose; higher self-esteem and confidence; more positive relationships in their life and lower rates of isolation.
The skills you pick up as a volunteer are long lasting and can help you when applying for college or university, or can set you up nicely for beginning your career. Volunteering improves communication, listening skills, team work and problem-solving skills, too.
Many students believe that the time commitment acts as a barrier to volunteering, however, the key is to factor it in to your existing commitments, such as classes, study, part-time work, and social time.
“It’s a big commitment, so you have to make sure you are able to dedicate the time to it,” Amanda advises. “On top of classes and volunteering I need hours to study, too, so I try and keep track of every day to make sure I have time for everything. It’s fine as long as you keep a schedule, and stay well organised.”
— UN Volunteers (@UNVolunteers) December 5, 2018
Adding an extra activity into your schedule can seem daunting, but the sense of purpose and personal gain that you’ll get from it, not to mention the huge difference you’ll be making to others’ lives, will make it all worthwhile.
“Just go for it,” Amanda urges. “If you spend too long thinking about it, you’ll miss out on opportunities. It really is a great experience that I would recommend to everyone.”
Just remember, volunteering isn’t just for Christmas: it’s a long-term commitment and volunteers are needed all year round.
So, what are you waiting for? There’s a volunteering opportunity waiting for you!