By Taiba Abdul Latif, University of Ghana.
Growing up, my passion for helping others and making a positive impact on their lives has
always driven me. This innate desire to be a source of ease for people led me to discover the
incredible world of volunteering. As a student pursuing a BSC. in Family And Consumer Science at the University of Ghana, I have found that volunteering not only allows me to contribute to my community but also offers a plethora of personal and professional benefits.
Learning Invaluable Skills
Volunteering has served as a dynamic platform for acquiring new skills, all at no cost. My
experience with an NGO focused on providing classroom assistance to schools in under-served rural communities allowed me to step into the role of a teacher. My initial nervousness gave way to confidence as I continued to teach. This growth was particularly evident in my communication skills. The ability to stand in front of a classroom, deliver a message, and engage with a group has greatly aided me during my academic journey, especially during presentations. Volunteering has transformed me from a timid speaker to a confident communicator.
Exploring Diverse Career Paths
Volunteering has become a vital tool in my career exploration toolbox. It enables students like me to gain hands-on experience in various fields before making a full commitment. For instance, someone aspiring to become a medical doctor can test the waters by volunteering in a hospital. This firsthand experience offers invaluable insights into the daily workings of the profession and helps individuals make informed career decisions. Volunteering opens doors to discovering passions and interests that may not have been considered otherwise.
Enhancing the CV/Resume
In today’s competitive job market, having a well-rounded CV or resume is crucial. Volunteering serves as a powerful testament to one’s commitment to community service and humanitarian efforts. It showcases dedication, a willingness to go beyond the ordinary, and an eagerness to contribute positively to society. When potential employers see voluntary experience on a resume, they recognize the commitment and dedication that went into it. This can set you apart and demonstrate that you’re not just looking for a paycheck but also for opportunities to make a difference.
Building a Strong Network
The relationships forged through volunteering extend beyond the immediate task at hand. I have had the privilege of interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Each new connection brings a fresh perspective and unique learning experience. Additionally, these individuals often have their networks, which can prove invaluable in the future. Recommendations from those you’ve volunteered with can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and support when needed.
In conclusion, the benefits of volunteering from a student’s perspective are both profound and multifaceted. From skill development to career exploration, from enhancing one’s resume to building a network of like-minded individuals, volunteering is a holistic experience that enriches not only the lives of those being helped but also the lives of those extending a helping hand. As I continue my journey, I am grateful for the invaluable lessons volunteering has bestowed upon me, lessons that will undoubtedly shape my personal and professional growth for years to come.