Volunteer to Build Skills and Experience

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.

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