The Perks of Being a Volunteer

As summer internship application deadlines fast approach or have already scurried away from your career experience-hungry paws, it probably seems at this point that you’ll be destined to roam the country and audition for national talent shows with talents you do not, nor will you ever have. 

Whether or not you’ve secured yourself a sweet internship or job, a great alternative or addition to your busy schedule is the less popular and often undervalued option of volunteering! Although you won’t be cashing in any fat stacks through this, there are a myriad of other perks for giving up some of that quality time you spend pantsless in your room eating ramen in exchange for helping out in the community (but if you’re currently doing this, it’s okay to proceed in that state while you read this article)

 

 

Perk #1

You’re doing your part within the community

This one should go without saying. Volunteering has the same satisfactory effect of crossing off a miniscule task on your to-do list, going to sleep without having to set an alarm, or finding a packet of cookies you had hidden from yourself months ago and discovering it's still fresh. It gives you immense joy (because you're giving back to your community) and you feel like you can take on anything.

So when people thank you for helping out, you just bashfully smile and look away, you. You can be cocky on the inside. 

 

Perk #2

You acquire a wealth of knowledge

Maybe you’ll learn about a charity/organization you’ve never heard of before. Maybe you’ll meet people you never would have crossed paths with in your little realm of comfort. Volunteering puts you out there in the world, and teaches you skills you probably wouldn’t have sought out to learn by yourself. 

 

I now know how to slap event wristbands on hundreds of people with ease, carry platters of food in heels, and convince children that the figure I painted on their face actually is a dinosaur as opposed to an angry, green looking blob with small arms. So much knowledge I now have. So much power.

 

Perk #3

You (hopefully) get fed…

So volunteering isn’t completely altruistic. One of my favorite parts of helping out at different events is the potential of being fed something other than the repetitively “okay” campus food. Given as a small token of appreciation for your time, there are often great meals served depending on the place/event you choose to volunteer at. Pasta, burgers, salads. ~*Cake*~. Sustenance is always a good motivator, don't you think?

Perk #4

And also get free things

Of course, this is not meant to stray from the true meaning of volunteering, but hey. Free stuff is always a nice add-on. T-shirts, water bottles, happiness. Material goods are great placeholders for true joy.  

Perk #5

It opens the door for ~connections~

Regardless of where you choose to volunteer, this “job” immediately puts you at an advantage with employers/higher ups. With volunteering, your dedication to a specific cause without compensation will be noted, and can open the door for potential jobs in that area. If you choose to volunteer at an event that relates to your career interests, you could theoretically use this as an opportunity to find out first-hand information about working in the field. Networking often has bad connotations because it’s sometimes seen as too pragmatic, but as long as you’re respectful and know your limits, there is a wealth of knowledge and people waiting to let you in on the real deal.