Volunteering while in college provides peace of mindBy Alyssa Bloechl • April 19, 2012 • Category: Opinions
College life is demanding. School, work, homework, clubs and the prospect of a future job. It will eventually be worth it, when we graduate and begin working and doing something that we hopefully love or at least enjoy. The next thing that a college student wants to do is add yet another thing to the list of stuff to do. But in this case, it is not just good for the resume, but good for the soul.
Volunteering is a serious and necessary activity to consider. People that are on the receiving end of a volunteer benefit from thier services more than the volunteer will ever come to realize. For example, if I were to clean up garbage on the highway, people wouldn’t have to look at it and I’m saving the environment. Whabam.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about self-actualization, but assurance that I know I can give back and enjoy it.
Unfortunately, I was required to do service learning, so my motivation was purely for class credit. Without this push, I wouldn’t have realized that volunteering is a healthy practice for myself as well.
I am spending time at the Platteville High School as a Big Sister with a freshman girl, who has already changed how I look at things. She is truly inspiring. From what I have learned about her life, she is always positive in the face of adversity. That kind of genuine happiness and caring nature is hard to come by, especially in a 14-year-old girl.
The best part about seeing her every week, is that she looks forward to it. One week she drew me a picture, which hangs in my room. We are working on a project that is documenting our separate lives, but mostly focusing on our time together.
I haven’t found another hour in my week where I am actually proud of myself, except for the one that I have scheduled with my Little Sister. Class work and my daunting future are keeping me humble, so knowing that I am impacting someone for the better encourages me to carry on.
When I was a sophomore, I was also given the chance to tutor at the Neal Wilkins Elementary School in the four-year-old kindergarten class. Nothing opens a person’s eyes like willingly tutoring 35 four-year-olds. And when I say tutor, I mean play.
The most unimaginable games are thought up in that room. My personal favorite was when a little girl asked me, “Alyssa, can we pretend we’re alligators that eat people and build houses made out of Legos so we have somewhere to live?”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes, we can.”
I couldn’t handle this. It was too precious. There is nothing better than being able to respond to these kinds of questions wholeheartedly.
More college students should consider taking the time to volunteer. It doesn’t have to be with picking up trash or working with kids, but it should be something. The best route is to do something that you normally wouldn’t consider yourself doing.
A new change of pace is what volunteering is all about. Why not take it to the extreme? There are many opportunities on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville psychology website at uwplatt.edu/psychology/VolunteerOpp.html, but also consider AmeriCorps or Habitat for Humanity, both of which can be accessed around Platteville.
Trust me, this is going to change your life, one hour at a time.