5 Reasons to volunteer this term

By Charlotte Wainwright, Operations Manager: Volunteering

When you get to University , it can be easy to become bogged down in your studies. Yet university is a great time to meet new people, discover more about the city you’re living in and gain exciting and unique experiences that can help shape your life and career. Volunteering offers a fantastic way to do this, giving you a chance to explore your interests and make the most of your time at York. Careers and Placements offer a whole range of volunteering opportunities each term, in schools, health care, arts and heritage, and many other sectors.

So whilst Netflix might seem like an appealing option this evening, here are five reasons why you should get out and volunteer this term:

1. Meet new people and build your networks
Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people. Not only will it introduce you to other peers who share your interests, it’s also a brilliant way to meet people living in the community. Whilst it’s often easy to engross yourself in a university “bubble,” volunteering allows you to escape this vacuum and meet a diverse range of people, who all have their unique stories to share. Volunteering is also a wonderful way to expand your networks. By volunteering in a sector you care about, you create an opportunity to build strong relationships, that may help you to gain a job in the future.

2. Gain concrete work experience and skills for your CV
Volunteering provides a great way to develop skills that will enhance your CV and help you stand out to employers. It’s not just paid work that can be discussed in job applications – volunteering can be a fantastic example of work experience, that employers will be interested in talking to you about. Whether you volunteer in a sector that directly relates to your career path or not, you can gain a variety of skills through volunteering – such as organisation, time management and communication – that you can use as examples during job interviews.

3. Explore your interests and learn about specific jobs
Volunteering offers you a chance to discover more about specific job roles or sectors, that you may be interested in working in in the future. By observing the work culture of specific organisations, you can gain a deeper understanding about whether or not a career in that area would be right for you. Don’t worry if you find that a sector wasn’t all you expected – figuring out what you don’t want to do can be just as valuable as figuring out what it is you do want! Volunteering is a fantastic way for you to explore different career paths, to help you decide on the perfect job for you.

4. Make a difference in the community
One of the main reasons people volunteer is to give something back to the local community. By volunteering with a charity or organisation you care about, you can help to make a real difference to a specific cause. Local organisations value the time volunteers give, as it enables them to carry out important tasks that they might not otherwise be able to do, helping them to reach a wider audience. By sharing your skills, you can help support not only the work of the organisation, but those that their work directly affects.

5. Have fun and enhance your personal wellbeing
Volunteering is great way to spend your time, as it enables you to do something you enjoy, outside of your degree. Whether you’re helping to improve green spaces, supporting teachers as a classroom assistant, or even assisting in a museum, volunteering is a fantastic way for you to have fun and improve your personal wellbeing. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “doing good does you good,” helping to reduce stress and improve both your emotional wellbeing and physical health. Not only does volunteering enable you to help others, it’s also a great way for you to help look after yourself, all whilst doing something you enjoy!

You can check out all of our volunteering opportunities on Handshake