How volunteering can boost your wellbeing
University is a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, twists and turns; many good times but also a number of bad ones too. Even when things are going to plan, it’s extremely easy to become bogged down with your studies, so focussed on your academic goals that you forget to appreciate the surrounding world. With a relentless surge of essays to write and exams to revise for – not to mention the massive task of applying for internships and searching for jobs never too far away – it can be hard to find time to give your mind a well-deserved break. This is where volunteering can help.
The benefits of volunteering
We all know how crucial volunteers are to millions of charities and organisations around the country. However, not everyone recognises how helpful volunteering can be to maintain good wellbeing in the volunteers themselves. A major reason for this is that it allows you to connect with people around you – people from all walks of life. It’s not unheard of for students to feel isolated, especially in their first year in a new city.
In fact, according to The Independent, 1 in 4 first years say they often or always feel lonely. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as many people move far from home, and making new friends is often not as easy as we may initially expect. By getting involved in volunteering around campus, you can start to feel more at home here in Manchester. Volunteering will help you to build a great support network of like-minded people, who you will be able to fall back on when things get tough. Not to mention you may meet some lifelong friends along the way!
Volunteering can help us to reset
Aside from the beneficial social aspect, volunteering has even more to offer. For all of us, there can be days where we come away from University left feeling uninspired. The constant pressure and repetitive routine is bound to take its toll. Volunteering can act as a reset button for this. A break from your closed university network will give you a fresh outlook, whether that be on the next paragraph of your impending essay, or the dilemma of what career path to pursue. Some time away from the books can also give you the opportunity to take notice of the wonderful things going on around campus and put you in a more positive state of mind.
…And boost our confidence
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, volunteering can be a major confidence booster. By giving your time to a great cause, it’s easy to see the immense difference you can make to those in your local community. This brings a real sense of purpose, fulfilment and pride. Many of us come to university aiming to reinvent ourselves and strengthen our skillset. The right volunteering opportunity gives us an invaluable chance to do so. We can learn new skills, such as the vital ‘soft’ skills valued hugely by all employers, and even discover new passions. This may prepare you to smash your next job interview, giving you exciting real life experience to talk about, or raise your self-esteem and challenge you to do those things you never thought possible. What have you got to lose?
Give volunteering a try
Volunteering is something all of us should consider. The benefits are immense, for both the community and our wellbeing! Once more, volunteering will take you a step further towards Stellify, the University’s most prestigious extracurricular award. Whether you have spare time on the weekends, or perhaps a morning every month you’d like to fill, head to the Volunteering Hub right now to find yourself the perfect volunteering role!
Written by Student Wellbeing Champion, Emily Gibbons.