Over the past year I’ve tried to learn more about a wide range of different activities. I’ll discuss many of these later but for now I want to share what they all had in common: volunteering.
At the Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA), we organised a university-wide food drive as well as a clothing sale. The former amassed 400 donations whilst the latter gathered $1,100 to give back to students who have a real difficulty supporting themselves financially.
UN Youth helped educate secondary school students about the wider world with a model United Nations, designed to inspire a greater youth interest in international relations. It's a fantastic way to learn more about global politics and how the world works, as well as public speaking and an easier introduction to the "big" issues we face.
Finally, the Business School Learning Leaders assist first-year uni students in getting to grasps with the radical transition from high school and how to improve their academic work. As many will know from experience, it can be pretty jarring.
My point is, don’t volunteer just to try and up your CV game. Use it to learn new things about yourself, the world and people you’d normally have nothing to do with. Too often I hear the words “I don’t know what I’m doing at uni”. Why not go out there with an open mind, and give up your time to try something different and learn from other peoples experiences? Even if you absolutely hate it, at least you’ll have learned something new about yourself.
It may seem daunting at first. A lot of people worry about how it might impact the time spent in other parts of their lives. But the positives far outweigh the negatives, and you will almost definitely benefit from it in the future in some unexpected situation.
And who knows? Maybe it’ll be the trigger point you need to realise what you want to do in the future.
This was previously written as part of a LinkedIn series.