After having volunteered for several events and organizations, Jayashri Ramesh Sundaram feels that volunteering is not just about social work with no returns. It is something that can help you learn and grow as well. Here’s how.
Is it just a photo op? Something to do at your leisure over the weekends? A reason to meet and upload pictures on social media? These were some curious thoughts that were mind-numbing for someone like me who believed that volunteering is purely social work with no “returns on investments”. However, it was only once I started volunteering that I realized how stereotypical such thinking is. My involvement with social service oriented organizations helped me mould myself and evolve as a better human being. It also helped me recognize the key role that the educated, not necessarily the rich and influential, can play to create a positive change in the society. Listed below are a couple of laudable insights I have gained from my experiences as a volunteer.
1. It provides the right platform to learn:
For someone who has recently developed the thirst to learn to a greater extent from people and surroundings, volunteering offers the best places to do so. You get the opportunity to work with young souls and experienced minds, who can give you some of the best professional advice and knowledge about the world.
2. Helps you stay active:
Volunteering, apart from an opportunity to socialize, helps you stay active. As a volunteer, you eventually develop the skill of being proactive, and that can help you on professional grounds.
3. Helps you attain satisfaction:
Although some volunteering events may demand more time and effort from you, there is no work pressure. Choosing the right kind of events will let you showcase your skills and you will love proving yourself to the fullest. Volunteering helps attain immense satisfaction even though you might not get rewarded with excessive stipend. And the organizers will surely motivate and appreciate you.
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4. Helps you identify your interest areas:
Volunteering can do much more than just helping you spend your free time for a good cause. Nowadays, every second event/organization in town looks for volunteers, for duration ranging from one day to two years depending on the type of event or labour that is required. Once you have identified your interest area, you can choose where and what volunteering work you would like to do next. This will not only help you while you are a student, but even after that.
5. Helps you come out of your shell:
As a volunteer, you will slowly but surely learn the art of communicating with new people. Sometimes, you will need to let go of the luxury of working in your comfort zone and be prepared to do things that may not be your cup of coffee.
6. It’s a skill in itself:
Volunteering, involving a varied range of activities and new ideas, is a skill in itself. As a volunteer, one is required to be patient and down to earth. For example, if you are volunteering in any event, you may need to communicate with guests in a polite manner, no matter what your state of mind is. Moreover, every volunteer develops leadership skills eventually as you need to assign yourself certain tasks to get your work done effectively and efficiently.