16-24 year olds are statistically the most likely to volunteer, and yet some university students are undecided on whether to take this responsibility on!
“I don’t have the time!”
We all love saying this, when often it simply isn’t true. Obviously, you don’t want to go overboard and burn out doing too much, but we could all take on some volunteering. Always find time to watch Rick and Morty with some ice cream.
A 2015 study pointed out that on average, people who volunteer spend less than 15 minutes a day volunteering. There’s no need to feel like volunteering is a competition to see who the loveliest person in the world is – just give what time you can.
I volunteered whilst studying with the Manchester Media Group, writing articles and making some podcasts, and I found that the more volunteering I did, the better I got at planning my time. I genuinely feel that I wouldn’t have done as well with my degree had I not been volunteering – it forced me to manage my time properly.
“There’s nothing in it for me!”
There’s nothing wrong with occasionally thinking a bit selfishly, especially whilst at university – you are here to study, become employable, and make yourself the best version of yourself – you’ve got to look out for you. However, volunteering really does benefit you.
You are able to learn about so much more than just your degree and meet so many more people than just lecturers and peers. Although I made friends from my course whilst studying, I also made friends for life whilst volunteering. It gives me loads of couches to sleep on up and down the country if ever I find myself in a random city.
As scary as it may seem, when you graduate from your degree, you will graduate with all the people on your course too… from other universities across the country. There will be competition, and you need to stand out – volunteering gives you the opportunity to show that you offer something different and that have something niche to talk about to an employer in an interview.
There’s a strange myth circulating that volunteering is just cleaning up after people, doing some boring unpaid job, but this is simply not the case. If you’re into art, you could volunteer at the Whitworth Art Gallery; if you like history try the Manchester Museum; if you love football, why not try the National Football Museum?
You can volunteer at all sorts of places; theatre groups, sports teams, charity shops, tutoring children, helping the elderly, the list is almost endless. Through my volunteering I was given the opportunity to follow and report on Manchester City for free for 18 months, produced my own radio show for BBC Radio Manchester, and got more free theatre tickets than you can shake a leg at.
You can also volunteer abroad – whether that be with the University’s Team Uganda, or plenty other opportunities across the globe – so you can experience a completely different culture whilst volunteering! If that seems boring to you, then there may be no hope for you.
The University offer hundreds of volunteering opportunities through the Volunteer Hub. For volunteering opportunities visit the University site: http://www.volunteers.manchester.ac.uk/
Interested in finding out more how volunteering may help your career? Come to the Little Careers Fair on 18 October to further explore some volunteering opportunities.