5 Benefits of Volunteering as a Student
Welcome to our new series, Volunteering for Students!
For the past year student life or the lack of it has been difficult, to say the least. Whether you’re in your first year at University or your final year, trying to replicate the multitude of student experiences from home is near impossible.
However, one aspect that has continued to thrive is student volunteering. University students have proven a remarkable ability to adapt and combat such uncertain times. Volunteering from the comfort of your own home has become the norm, and easier than ever.
This practical change hasn’t detracted from the value of volunteering. With the loosening of lockdown restrictions, volunteering opportunities will continue to become even more varied and dynamic. Each opportunity involves different types of activity, location, cause, organisation and level of involvement. So no matter what your skill-set and passions, there’s a volunteering opportunity for everyone!
We all know volunteering makes a big difference to the lives of others, but there are plenty of benefits for you too.
Giving something back
Most obviously, and importantly, we volunteer because we want to make a difference. NCVO’s 2019, Time Well Spent, report highlights that the most common reason for getting involved with volunteering was wanting to improve things or help other people (42%).
Giving back doesn’t have to require money. There are plenty of ways to make a difference without spending a penny. As a volunteer, all you need is time, passion, and commitment to those who need it most. While it may seem that giving an hour or two a week isn’t a big commitment, and so wouldn’t make a huge difference, it’s not a cliche to say that every hour counts when it comes to volunteering.
Whether related to your degree course or not, volunteering offers a brilliant opportunity to hone your skills and acquire new ones. The report, mentioned above, suggests that volunteers are more likely to be motivated by using existing skills (28%) than gaining them (17%).
In the case of Tutor The Nation, we encourage both! Being a volunteer tutor as a university student means that you already have all the knowledge needed to teach your given subject. The skillset to teach one-on-one is something we believe everyone has and only grows through the time that you volunteer, while also giving you new skills. Whether that’s a new perspective on your subject, greater confidence in your own knowledge, or learning how to mentor someone alongside their academics.
You will learn a multitude of soft skills while volunteering. Each of these will complement your academic skills and professional expertise. What’s more, these skills will help you grow in all aspects of life and become embedded as part of your personality. No matter where you volunteer you will develop resilience. All of these traits are hugely desirable to employers after your graduate.
Meet new people
It is perfectly normal to have felt quite isolated over the past year. Volunteering provides you with the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded, compassionate people and grow your social circles. Working towards the same cause you will build positive relationships through trust, cooperation and respect.
University is a great place to create new friendships, but it can be difficult (especially in the current circumstances!) so volunteering for a cause you care about can bring you together with others who share your values and interests.
Alongside the people you will meet, you have the chance to increase your self-confidence. Your ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments, make new friends, gain new skills and do good for others will affirm your confidence in yourself and your skills and lower stress.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has had an effect on many aspects of our lives, including our mental health and wellbeing. Volunteering can be a great way to help improve your mental health, both during and after the pandemic. It’s a great way to keep busy and move away from being introspective about what’s worrying you. Focusing on someone else and their wellbeing can be a very welcome break. The added benefit of it providing some routine, and new friends only add further.
Purpose and meaning have also been difficult to come by this year. Spending your time doing something productive and learning new skills can help here, and give you back that sense of purpose that may have been missing.
Not only is volunteering beneficial to your mental wellbeing but it has also been found to positively impact your physical health. Studies show that volunteering is proven to be beneficial to your longevity. A meta-analysis study carried out by the University of Exeter revealed that volunteers had a 22% lower mortality rate than on-volunteers, perhaps linked to its stress-reducing effects.
Ultimately, we feel better about ourselves when we are doing good for others.
Sharing your time with others can bring you joy! It can be an enjoyable way to explore and share your interests and passions. Volunteering also gives you something to look forward to and something creative and meaningful to do in your spare time.
We like to use the term ‘emotional contagion’ to describe the infectiously positive feeling of volunteering. The energy and enthusiasm expressed by volunteers can be automatically and unconsciously transferred to the people around them. So when you’re undoubtedly feeling positive and enjoying the process of giving, it spreads and creates a chain reaction!
Volunteering provides an indescribable feeling of fulfilment. It is most fun when you find a cause that you care about; a cause that engages your heart and mind!
Volunteering has the ability to strengthen communities and enrich our lives. Now is your chance to find the right volunteer opportunity for you. There are numerous roles available with varying levels of commitment so we recommend finding a project that matches both your goals and interests.
Why not harness the opportunity to volunteer at this particular moment in history when society needs your service most and become an active citizen for life?
How can I volunteer with Tutor The Nation?
Volunteering with Tutor The Nation couldn’t be easier. Simply register your interest with us, and we will get in touch with you!
If you choose to volunteer, you will become part of an amazing community of volunteers providing extra support to GCSE and A-level pupils who need it most. All we ask is for an hour a week. That’s all it takes to start making a difference!