Life is busy; there is no doubt about it. Holding down a job (sometimes 2), raising a family, plus trying to maintain friendships and relationships, not to mention your school commitments; it’s no wonder that finding the time to volunteer is becoming increasingly difficult.
If that sounds like you – don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a USA Today report, the percentage of college students who volunteer is declining, reflecting an overall drop in volunteerism nationally. Just 26.1% of college students in the U.S. volunteered in 2010, which was down from a peak of 31.2% in 2004*. Don’t forget to vote in our interactive poll on this subject to see how Carrington compares!
Empathy is one of the softer skills you need to develop (read more about soft skills) to improve your chances of finding a job after graduation. A study by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research also established that college-aged students today are about 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 to 30 years ago.
Some employers commented that a lack of empathy is one of the most common deficiencies in recent college graduates. Volunteering can help you overcome that.
6 quick reasons why you should try to find the time?
- Volunteering allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; to appreciate life from a different perspective. That’s an important skill to have when you work as part of a team.
- Volunteering can provide hands-on experience in your field; and that could improve your chances of employment after graduation.
- Volunteering is a great addition to your resume, and can be a great source for those all important professional references.
- Volunteering can help you network. ‘It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know’ is still very valid. It’s a great way to make contacts and meet potential colleagues (and employers).
- Volunteering makes you healthier! Volunteers who commit about 1 to 2 hours per week experience health benefits when it comes to longevity, mobility and mental health.**
- It just feels good when you can help someone less fortunate than yourself!
If you’d like to volunteer, but don’t know where to start, think about the skills you can offer. There is an organization out there that would love to have your skills for just a few hours month!
If you’re Computer Technology student, call up some local non-profits and see if they could use some IT support. If you’re a Graphic Design student, you’ll have no problem finding a charity that needs help producing flyers, a video, or help with a website. If you’re studying Renewable Energy, you must have an interest in environmental education, so volunteer for an organization like the National Audubon Society.
When you think about the 6 reasons above, you’ll discover that volunteering really is a win-win! It’s good for you and your community! Don’t be one of the 74% – stand out and stand up.
For comprehensive consumer information, please visit carrington.edu/ccconline/programs/
* According to the Corporation for National and Community Service
Program availability varies by location.