How to de-stress, have fun, and help others
Signing up for volunteer positions with the purpose of beefing up your resume is a good idea, but volunteering your time to what you enjoy is a great idea.
University life is both daunting and enjoyable. It can be very stressful with lots of assignments due at the same time along with exams lurking around the corner. During these stressful times, it’s important to relax and take some time off.
During these stressful times, it’s important to relax and take some time off.
In simple words, volunteering relieves stress. Many research studies, such as the one conducted by Smith et al. in 2010, have shown that volunteering increases happiness, thus improving quality of life. Increased volunteering has been directly correlated to increased happiness.
Volunteering also provides an avenue for meeting people with similar interests, developing teamwork skills, gaining real-world experience, and allows you to make connections for future jobs and learn new skills.
Volunteering is a win-win situation because both the volunteer and the organization benefit; it is a rare case of mutual benefit and satisfaction.
How do I get started?
When you get to university, there is a lot of pressure to volunteer for different causes and events. However, it is prudent to limit your volunteering to one to three causes that you like best in order to ensure quality, continuity, and consistency. If you participate in other extracurricular activities or have a heavy workload make sure you take those time commitments into consideration before volunteering.
If you are not sure about where to start, the Student Volunteer Connections (SVC) office is there to help you. They are located in Raithby House, behind the UC and to the left of Bob’s Dogs.
The SVC office has a list of opportunities for volunteers and they also provide a $100 bursary to cover any expenses that you incur during volunteering or getting to and from the venue.
Volunteering is not just a tool for beefing up your CV
Many universities and organizations have understood the importance of volunteering and it is a criteria for admission to veterinary school, medical school, and certain jobs.
Due to the extensive focus placed on volunteering, many students applying to specific programs or jobs try to tailor their volunteering experiences to suit that application, irrespective of whether they like to volunteer for that particular cause or organization.
Though this strategy is understandable, care should be taken to ensure that we actually like and enjoy what we are doing; do not cater everything around filling out a particular section in an application form.
Photo courtesy of Alora Griffiths/The Ontarion.