How To: Give Back While in College

Features Lifestyles

Time. As a college student, you might not have much of it, but when you do, it becomes the most powerful asset you have in your arsenal.

After surviving their first year of college, most students quickly realize that how they spend their time outside of class directly affects not only your performance in school, but also your character development over the next four years.

Carefully choosing how and where you spend those precious minutes is part of an effective time management strategy. Some students choose to apply their free time helping others, and are doing it in more unique and creative ways than ever. Western Senior, Mike Cubria credits the majority of applied knowledge that he gained while in college to spending his time assisting the residents at a local nursing home.

Junior Kylie Staples examples recycling in Eder. Photo | Kelly Findley

“I’m a nursing major, so I joined the volunteer staff in order to not only gain some experience in my future profession, but to help out the community and give back to those who really need it,” Cubria said. “Once I began visiting the residents, listening to their stories, I was hooked. I felt like I had made a difference, and I learned more from that than any text book I ever read.”

For some students, a certain number of volunteerism hours are required in order to remain on the sports team or organization. Due to over-crowding on campus related service opportunities, some students are searching for creative and different ways to spend their required time. Western Junior and member of Western’s Women’s Golf Team, Lexi Webb, feels that finding a niche in the community has improved her work on the green, and finding her unique niche was key in being an effective volunteer.

“Volunteering for the Special Olympics’ really changed how I viewed the world,” Webb said. “I use my talents at sports to train athletes who otherwise would not have the chance to step onto the playing field. Community service is required for a lot of organizations that I’m in, but I’ll continue to do it for a very long time.”

Of course, as the rest of the world’s adaptation for technology grows, more and more non-profit organizations are offering ways for college students to volunteer online. Western Junior, Austin Leach, runs the local online chapter of VolunteerMatch.org, which hosts over 3 million volunteers from all over the United States.

“Volunteer match gives people the chance to make a difference from the comfort of their own home,” Leach said. “We partner with thousands of local, state, and national organziations who desperately need people to help. It’s great, because you can instantly improve the world you live in, and a cause you’re passionate about with a few clicks of the mouse. You can be a virtual volunteer in everything from human rights to arts and culture to hunger and housing. It’s easy, and a small thing you can do to really be an effective person.”

Whether you choose to lend your hand to a local charity that needs help at the soup kitchen, or simply pick up stray bottles on your route between classes, the choice to make a difference is yours. Time is ever passing, so why not spend a little extra of it making our world a better place?

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