Volunteering. For some, warm memories of stacking ten thousand can goods come to mind. For others, the dread of not putting in enough mandatory service hours in order to graduate is dredged up. But for all of us in college, the word volunteering reminds us that we have a hectic, vulnerable schedule. Between studying, working, socializing, and laundry, when the heck can we give back?! Well, here are a few new ways to think about “volunteering” that will fit into your schedule and fulfill your ongoing desire to be a productive part of society. Besides, think of the benefits volunteering will have to your resume and college experience.
Just like volunteering, it can be difficult to get in the habit of regularly attending a study group. It’s easier to be in a study group with friends, or to take steps to become friends with those in your group. Think about volunteering with your study group. Imagine attending a community cleanup, like the one Wayne State University hosts in its neighborhood of Midtown Detroit. You and a hundred volunteers are picking up trash, pulling weeds, engaging neighbors, and you and your study group can also be discussing theories, class readings, and how the heck you’re all going to ace the impending exam. All in a matter of hours, you’ve socialized, studied, and volunteered. Go ahead, make yourself a Spanish coffee and curl up in a papasan.
So maybe your study group isn’t full of the type of people you like to hang out with. That’s cool. Go on a date. Go to the beach. Whether it’s your high school sweetheart who’ll always be around or last night’s Tinder match, grab your beach bag and a trash bag, and head to the beach where trash abounds. You can play 21 Questions as you ride the beach of turtle strangling and fish exterminating detritus. Once you’ve done your part to save the world, lay out your towels and jump in the water to rinse off.
Another way to double up productivity is to speak with a professor you admire (or want to admire you), and ask if they are in involved in something with which you can volunteer. Perhaps your Lit prof organizes an open mic night but is sick of being the MC. Or maybe your Bio professor plants trees every Saturday with friends from the department and would love to pick the brain of a student while digging holes in the dirt.
Don’t be afraid to volunteer your time. Your friends and acquaintances want to do it too. They will absolutely take you up on your original and altruistic idea to hang out and improve the planet. And with this new ways of thinking of giving back, you’ll find it easier than ever to fulfill that new desire to be a productive adult who still has time to socialize, study, and relax.