5 Benefits of Volunteering in College

Volunteering is often a requirement for many schools, but there are so many more benefits besides just getting credit hours in order to graduate! Volunteering is something that can help in many aspects of life as well as many different types of lives. Schools and work may require it, but it is also asked for your heart to make a difference.

  1. It benefits you as much as it benefits those you're helping: Obviously, you are helping something, someone, or some cause when you volunteer, but did you know that you're also helping yourself? Volunteering makes you feel good; you're helping others who don’t have the advantages in life that you've been given, and it makes you feel like you have a purpose. Knowing that you're taking a little bit of time out of your day to make a huge difference in someone else's is satisfying and makes your heart happy, as well as those you're helping.
  2. It's the right thing to do: It is no secret that college tuition is expensive. That being said, as students who are lucky enough to attend and afford a good college, we should give back to those who do not or did not have the same opportunity. We should help others as much as we can, not just leave them where they are! Not only should you give to others, but you should do it out of the kindness of your heart and not for money. That's what volunteering is all about!
  3. Provides you with life experiences: Regardless of what type of volunteering you do, you're putting yourself in a situation that you are unfamiliar with, but passionate about. You're learning more about people and causes just by being there firsthand! Seeing what some animals or people go through opens your eyes and gives you some perspective; you begin to better appreciate what you have. The people you volunteer with as well as those you're helping form incredible connections, and you'll learn so much from the stories you hear about their lives or other places they've volunteered!
  4. It's an outlet that is different from what you normally do: Sometimes, you become so involved in academic work, and that's all you seem to do anymore. Volunteering gives you a break while also being productive! Most of the time, volunteering is methodical and soothing, and it gives your brain a rest. Also, if you volunteer at shelters (like the Animal Rights Advocates club on campus), you're working with cute animals. So, not only are you de-stressing and resting your mind, you are also bringing joy to an animal or person's life and helping a cause.
  5. It looks good on applications: Yeah, I know I said that volunteering is supposed to be done out of the goodness of your heart and to benefit others, but it also looks really good on applications. Whether you're applying to a graduate school, a club's executive board, student government, or a job, volunteering shows that you work because you truly want to help the world and its inhabitants. It shows that you genuinely care and work hard even when there's no reward.

Luckily for us, Oxford has an incredible amount of service opportunities, on-campus as well as off-campus! They're typically posted on flyers or sent in emails, and many clubs hold their own volunteering events, so they're easy to find. As a freshman, I've already participated in three volunteer days just in my first semester that was all incredibly different. From packaging holiday gifts for local kids in foster care to cleaning and walking animals at the humane society to preparing meals for children in other countries, I have already made so many new friends and learned so much just from three separate days. I recommend volunteering not only as a way to make yourself as well as others happier, but also as a way to learn more about your community and make friends.