Volunteering at university not only improves your chances of getting a job but can also boost your wellbeing. Like many people, the past couple years have often been difficult for me. However, volunteering has consistently improved my wellbeing for three main reasons. First, by introducing me to a whole range of great people I would never have met otherwise. Second, by making my general outlook more positive. Third, by making my time feel more purposeful, allowing me to aim for social impact outside of the campus bubble. I would recommend volunteering to anyone who wants to improve their university experience in a meaningful way.
Volunteering attracts some of the most kind, passionate, and all-round lovely people from all walks of society. Of course, at university you meet lots and lots of amazing people. However, especially at a smaller university like LSE, you largely interact with people of a similar age, academic background, and interests as you. Volunteering allows you to meet all kinds of people outside of LSE’s bubble. This not only enriches you socially but can really change your mindset. I always find myself inspired and encouraged by other volunteers!
It can often be difficult to maintain a positive outlook when being bombarded by news of doom and gloom, volunteering helps you see the world differently. In a small but significant way, making positive change on an issue whilst being surrounded by others doing the same can really change the way you look at the world. Yes, there’s a lot to be worried about. However, there are always people and organisations trying their best to improve things. Being involved in volunteering really helped me witness this first-hand.
Finally, volunteering can help reconnect you with a purpose that goes beyond academia. If you’re like me, you might sometimes struggle with the abstract nature of what you’re learning about in university and find it hard to find meaning in what you are doing beyond getting to the next stage. If you’re the kind of person that likes to see immediate results from your work, volunteering can really help. During lockdown, volunteering reconnected purpose and motivation in my work. I could see that what I was doing was worthwhile and valued, and this really boosted my wellbeing.
Volunteering has a whole host of practical/moral advantages, but I hope my account has helped you consider that there may personal and immaterial for you as well!