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Toronto, Canada

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Fine Print

The True Value of Volunteering as a Student

Written by Zac LaRocque-Walker

As students, we are often so focused on our schooling (and perhaps work) that we pass on the great opportunities that volunteering can offer. Volunteering is a great way to get some experience in the field that you are hoping to work in post graduation or to simply lend a hand to an organization that may need some extra assistance.

To Help. Plain and Simple.

There are many great organizations out there that are in need of a helping hand. Various non-profits basically function thanks to the help of volunteers. To put it simply, they would not be able to do what they do without the assistance of volunteers. There is a local art gallery and performance centre that I have often volunteered at that would not be able to function as it does without the assistance of volunteers. From attendants at the art gallery, to door people in the theatre, a lot of the function comes from volunteers. As an arts centre, it would not be able to run without the help it receives. There are generally perks though for volunteers, and, in this case, it was the ability to get free tickets to shows. A nice trade off.

To Gain Experience

A standout reason to volunteer is to gain experience in a field of interest that you may not be able to otherwise access. If you have minimal working experience in your area of study, then it may be of interest to start seeing if there is a company or organization you can start to volunteer with.

“Ultimately, you gain some key skills that will provide useful for when you graduate. And hopefully get a leg up when applying for jobs in your field.”

You’d be surprised at what you may be able to find and you can easily make a case to the volunteer coordinator about how you can best assist them. Ultimately, you gain some key skills that will provide useful for when you graduate. And hopefully get a leg up when applying for jobs in your field.

To Have Fun. And Meet People.

Squamish Music Festival

One thing you should keep in mind is that more than likely you will have a great time volunteering, or at the minimum, meet some wonderful people. Any time I have volunteered I have met tons of great people. Most recently I volunteered at the Squamish Valley Music Festival, as a Production Assistant. The weekend consisted of camping and hanging out with other friends that were volunteering, and then working backstage and meeting plenty of musicians. The days could be long out in the sun, but I had great company and got to see Arcade Fire and Eminem after my shifts.

Volunteering is ideal, especially for us students. You get to help people that need it, get valuable experience, and create great memories/friendships. That’s hard to beat.

Has anyone else had a great volunteering experience? Sound off in the comments below!

Images courtesy: lead photo (Dave Bezaire), Squamish Music Festival image by the author.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.