Why You Should Be Volunteering

As students, we are constantly being told to get ourselves involved, to be well rounded individuals, and to build our resumes so long as no one else can compete when it comes to our next steps in education or our careers. Before I even accepted my offer to university, I was being asked where I planned on volunteering and scolded for not yet knowing, which then sent me into a spiral of panic, resulting in many nights of googling and wondering, “where do I want to dedicate several hours a week for the next four years of my life?", and “how will I know if it is a good fit?”. What I did not realize at the time is how much of an impact volunteering would have on me and my own life, and what an unexpected gift it would be.

In my time at Laurier, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at several establishments, and each experience has molded who I am as a person in some way, whether it be big or small. While some of this volunteering has been mandatory for classes, I still made a commitment to make the most out of the opportunity, rather than just trying to get it over with, and these have been the most rewarding experiences in my time at university thus far.

Due to the fact that I am a Community Health major specializing in Autism and Behavioural Science, I am particularly lucky in that I have had opportunities to volunteer with children with disabilities, patients within the health care system, and just people in general. Many of the individuals that I meet are in very vulnerable, often difficult situations, and for me to have the opportunity to get to know them and hear what they have to offer and how they have experienced life is a blessing like no other. There are days I come home crying, but there are also many days where I come home smiling, laughing, and overall just feeling so grateful that my time alone is enough to make a difference in someone else’s life.

If there is any one piece of advice I would give to an individual in university, it would be to dedicate some of your time to volunteering within your community. I understand that our schedules look like colour coded tornadoes and that life often goes by much faster than we’d like, but having the opportunity to make an impact on someone else’s life is something I feel we all take for granted. Obviously, the purpose of volunteering is to make an impact within the community, but the benefits to be had by the individual who dedicates their time are unsurpassable. If you are interested in volunteering, I urge you to check your university's websites, speak to professors, and look into taking courses which may require community service hours - I promise you won’t regret it.