Senioritis. If you’re starting your last year of high school, you know what I’m talking about. That exhaustion, lack of motivation, and stress about upcoming university applications leaves little room for anything else. Chances are, you haven’t thought about volunteering since you completed your 40 hours or got enough to put on your resume. The last thing you want to do in your final year of school is commit yourself to something else. And what’s the point, right? Why spend the precious little free time you have left doing something that isn’t even for yourself?
If this is your train of thought, you aren’t alone. Most of us have once been guilty of thinking of volunteering as something we do for ourselves to make us look better to job recruiters or universities. But we have to remember that the purpose of volunteering was never meant to be for some sort of gain on our end; at its core, volunteering is about helping others. I know that as we face our last year of high school, thinking about anything that doesn’t affect our university applications seems like a waste of time, but if you shift your perception of volunteering and do it for the sake of helping others instead of yourself, you may find yourself feeling more motivation to take a step into our world. Here are a few ways you can motivate yourself to get involved:
1. Volunteer in an industry that aligns with your interests. Though volunteering isn’t all about you, it won’t hurt to enjoy the work you’re doing. If it helps you get out of bed and helping others, why not volunteer with something you’re interested in? There’s opportunities in nearly every area imaginable! If you’re into social justice, check out Planned Parenthood. If you’re a politics nut, help out at a local MP or MPP office. If you’re thinking about going into medicine, hospitals are always looking for some extra hands. If you do a bit of research, you’re sure to find something that suits your personal interests and hobbies. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a chore; you just need to find something that interests you.
2. If you’re short on time, lend a hand at some one-day events. Marathons, festivals, and other charity events are a great way to give back to your community and still make time to finish that history project. It requires minimal time commitment but still gives you an opportunity to help out and volunteer for the sake of volunteering (pssst. Lots of events give their volunteers snacks and food!). Make it even more fun by bringing friends or family and volunteering as a group!
3. Use volunteering as a team-building activity with your club, organization, or co-workers. My DECA chapter volunteers at the Daily Bread Food Bank every winter break as a way to hang out and share study tips while giving back to our community. Team building is a great way to strengthen the work you do in your other organizations, so why not do something good for the community while you’re at it? The larger your group, the bigger impact you make, so make sure you get everyone excited and involved.
As the school year gets busier, it’s understandable that volunteering doesn’t make it to the top of your priority list. No one expects you to prioritize it over your schoolwork, applications, or part-time job. Keep these strategies in mind for the next time you get a day off or a slow week, and remember that we all have a responsibility to our community and to those in need.