Thanks to the way universities now consider prospective students, high school students are figuring out some of the benefits of volunteering. College students sort of have a handle on it, but it’s the adults who honestly might consider how useful volunteering is.
Volunteering your time to a cause you care about is always a good idea. It lets you do something relaxing that makes you feel good. It’s a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people. It’s also a great way to learn and hone skills. Teenagers have even realized it’s a great way to try out a career path they think they might like to have as an adult, so it’s a great decision-making tool for them as well.
Right after I started college, I started volunteering with the planetarium on campus. I spent two days a week presenting shows, giving star talks, building new shows, and doing light office work. I loved it, and I think it was the start of my path toward Career #1. From there, I volunteered with different museums and planetariums, developing teaching and curriculum development skills. It opened my eyes to a new career. Prior to that, I didn’t realize that one could teach somewhere other than a classroom. My teacher prep professors were beside themselves when I told them I was going to become a museum educator. Most of them tried to talk me out of it, tried to talk me into the classroom.
They failed because I was so much happier at my volunteer job than I was in my field experience and my student teaching.
I’m no longer a museum educator, but I still look for opportunities to teach and to develop learning material. Without volunteering, I never would have known about this opportunity, and I wouldn’t have had as many opportunities to develop skills that I enjoy using.
Look for volunteering opportunities. Encourage those around you to take time out for volunteering. It benefits the organization, and it benefits you in so many ways.