Giving Back & Getting Much More:
Finding the Perfect Volunteer Work
As a high school student looking ahead to college, you’ve probably had the importance of volunteer work drilled into your head. If you’ve done a lot of it, you’re figuring out how to make that known on your application. If you haven’t done much of it, you’re probably cramming those volunteer hours in now, or really playing up the work you have done. Either way, it’s no mystery that colleges and universities want students who have a track record of giving back to their communities.
When I was in high school, I made no secret that I was being exceptionally charitable for the sake of my college apps. I tutored middle schoolers in after school programs, I raised money for various national fundraisers, and I passed out cookies at my school’s blood drive to keep my peers from fainting. I did a little bit of everything and I got all the T-shirts. After I logged these hours on my college applications, though, I was over it.
That changed in college. The opportunities for volunteer work are endless, and I realized how rewarding it could be to contribute to a cause I’m passionate about. Because my own family was tragically affected by cancer, I found an indescribable joy helping families going through the same thing. I got a rush of adrenaline realizing how I could make such a big difference all by myself, and I only wished I had realized it sooner.
So what’s my point? What I realized is that volunteering shouldn’t be an imposition, or just another thing on the checklist of How to Get Into a Good School. Every single person has a cause they feel passionately about, even if you haven’t realized it’s a “cause” at all. Additionally, everyone has a unique talent or a gift that can make a positive difference. While it’s fantastic to sign up for whatever volunteer work you see posted at school, it’s important to also seek out the things that you genuinely care about. When I am helping with something I truly believe in, I feel like I’m getting so much more back in return.
If you’re motivated to find a personal way to help your community, head to VolunteerMatch.org and explore all of the opportunities in your area. This website prides itself on connecting people with causes that are meaningful to them. We all have something to offer the world, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to figure out just what that is.
“Often we set out to make a difference in the lives of others only to discover we have made a difference to our own.” –Ellie Braun-Haley