Why students should volunteer

Changing lives is driven by people with a passion to help. By choosing to volunteer, we are choosing to dedicate some of our time toward those who need it. 

We have a busy schedule as college students. It can become difficult to juggle work, classes, homework and a social life. On the other hand, fitting a portion of the week to lending a hand in the community has a number of benefits for both the volunteer and people on the receiving end. 

According to Mayo Clinic, research has shown volunteering to offer significant health benefits such as physical and mental health. It reduces stress by releasing dopamine, leading to relaxation. 

For students consumed by their area of study, volunteering can be a healthy outlet to get the mind off the textbook. Focusing on a subject different from what’s in the usual routine is refreshing, and taking breaks is good for the brain. 

Many times students can feel burnt out from university; volunteering is a great way to bring back a spark and provide a sense of purpose. When someone uses their time to make positive actions toward another person, it can also build them up. 

Volunteering opportunities like creating blankets, sewing clothing or knitting mittens and hats is perfect for students who use creative expertise as a side hobby outside of class. Someone who is struggling to stay warm during winter will likely appreciate the talent and dedication toward a thoughtful act. 

Relationships made in college can waver from person to person, but relationships can be built further through volunteering. It increases social interaction which helps us become more comfortable in everyday interactions. It also can be a way to meet a new crowd of people with common interests and a shared desire to help. 

Not only is volunteering helpful for students who choose to do it, but the impact it makes on the greater community is a deciding factor in itself. The world is full of negativity, and it is oftentimes we walk past opportunities to spread something good to the world around us. Volunteering is an easy thing to do that has such a positive outcome for every party involved. 

One of the most troubling areas of volunteering is the initial jump to get started, yet it is not nearly as complicated as it seems. Through youth programs, hospitals, nursing homes, environmental organizations, a local church or the general community, there are likely a number of opportunities eager to accept any help offered. 

At the university alone, Mavericks in Action is a group of volunteers who meet each week to plan events and perform acts of service on and off campus. Joining the team can be a first step toward better mental health while in college.

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