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Career Blog: Money Isn’t Everything: Volunteer Your Way Through Summer


‘Money isn’t everything’, they say.

If you want to sob in sheer grief and exasperation because reading that reminded you of your £0.34 bank balance, then congrats, because you are a true student! The want and need for money is ever important in society, but at the same time, requires hard work and dedication. With the current financial situation, jobs for students are increasingly harder to come by compared to just a decade a go (as you’ll know if, like a lot of us, you’ve sent off a gazillion and one summer applications and have been completely IGNORED!). Even if you possess the personality, the charm, and (hopefully) achieved the grades, why does your summer calendar look as empty as Brighton Beach in December? Here are some ways in which you can use your amazingness and heaps of free time for a good cause – being with society and boosting your CV – by VOLUNTEERING over the summer. As sad as it seems, ‘they’ may have been right – money isn’t always everything.

1)      Festival Volunteering

Most students would kill to make it to a festival at least some point in their lives. But, with an incredible headliner, comes an incredible price! Neglecting the cost of all the hassle of paying for transportation or travel, tent rent and of course really cool and expensive wellies (as standard). So get ready to jump with joy (in your new wellies) as you hear that you can get into some festivals for FREE! Yes, by volunteering a couple of shifts as a steward at some festivals such as T in the Park, you can earn yourself a free ticket. Drag a bunch of friends along with you, and not only do you gain some great work experience, but also an amazing weekend for a fraction of the cost!

See http://festaff.co.uk/ for details.

2)      Internships/work experience

If you’re unable to find a paid summer internship or job at that dream company, don’t be too disheartened – competition is immensely fierce. Whilst the money may have been a huge bonus, you can still get some experience in your chosen industry. Charities in particular offer summer-long unpaid internships, which offer full-time work in many different areas such as finance, HR and marketing. Other companies offer a few weeks of work experience, which may not be as high-profile as interning, but still help you to learn a lot. Either way, you can get so much out of these opportunities – but you’ll just have to sacrifice those new shoes for another day.

3)      Charity

If you love helping other people, then charity work could be for you. Many students have at some point worked in a charity shop (anything to boost that UCAS application!) and it will always be an impressive addition to your CV. Charity shops are always looking for volunteers, but there are also so many other ways you can get involved. Street fundraising and campaigning can lead to paid roles in the future, or you could always pop into your local hospice, care-home, or animal shelter. Honestly, the world needs more love.

4)      Find whatever you want!

If you’re still unsure about what kind of volunteering would interest you, then fear no more. Volunteers are needed EVERYWHERE, and they are definitely not given enough credit. You can find voluntary placements within a hobby or passion that you didn’t even know about – from being a volunteer radio DJ at your local hospital, to mentoring young people online; from photography to graphic design. Try the university’s volunteering service, or go to http://www.do-it.org.uk/ to find some amazing opportunities. And don’t discredit yourself just because you’re not getting paid. As Winston Churchill once said: ‘We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give’. Happy Summer!

Sheetal studied History at the University of Nottingham and was Campus Correspondent during her final year, before graduating in July 2014. She is currently jumping between jobs, whilst still writing for HC in her spare time. She may or may not be some of these things: foodie, book addict, world traveller (crazy dreamer!), lover of cheese, Australian immigrant, self-proclaimed photographer, wannabe dancer, tree hugger, lipstick ruiner, curly-haired and curious. She hopes for world peace and dreams that someday, cake will not make you fat.
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