When you think about what you're going to do during your college experience, you think of a lot of things. You think of the major you're passionate about studying, you think about the friendships you'll make that will last a lifetime, and you think about experiencing and trying new things as an independent person for the first time. The opportunity for adventure is endless as you make your way through the world and learn the tools to help you reach your professional and personal goals.
As much as your college experience will be able to give you, sometimes it's also beneficial to give back to others. There are many things you can do on and off campus to make your time at college more rewarding. Giving to others will not only make your heart full of joy and compassion, but can teach you other valuable lessons like patience and what it means to not expect anything in return for a job well done.
Here are our top 10 ways to give back to yourself and your community.
1. JOIN A CLUB. One of the best ways to get involved, try something new and meet new people is to join a club on campus. Not only will joining a club expand your social circle, but it will allow you to give back to your community on campus by becoming a part of it. Spend time with people who have the same interests as you, or join a club that relates to a topic you’ve been interested in but have never explored before. There are clubs for sports, games, and social issues, so you’re sure to find something that intrigues you.
2. RUN FOR STUDENT COUNCIL. This is another great way to get involved on campus, but includes a way to be the voice for all students when speaking to faculty. If you are someone who is passionate about making a change and feel that you are able to make decisions on behalf a whole community, this is a great option for you. Being on the student council will give you recognition among your peers and allow you to work closely with professors and deans to make changes on campus for the greater good.
3. VOLUNTEER. Lending a hand around school or to your local community is a great way to use your free time. As a student, it’s easy to recognize the incredible opportunity you have that many others do not. You are receiving another level of education that many can only dream of having access to. Try working a shift at your local soup kitchen, tutoring underprivileged youth after school, or cleaning up the nearest park to make your community a better place and uplift others in a time of need.
4. GET A PART-TIME JOB. Getting a job is not only a way to make money, but it will allow you to meet new types of people and get professional experience that will help you later on. Even something like working at your local coffee shop will teach you interpersonal skills and customer service. Try working for an electronics store if you’re interested in tech, or for a supermarket if you love to cook up experiments at home. There’s no reason a part-time job can’t contribute to other parts of your life and be something you’re actually interested in.
5. FEDERAL WORK STUDY. If your school offers work study, which is usually in the form of a grant/scholarship provided by the government, don’t pass the opportunity up. Work study is for students who have financial need and will provide part-time work while you are in school. Many schools allow you to work on campus in various offices to access this money, while some allow you to work for nonprofits off campus. Talk to your school’s financial aid department if this is something you’re interested in and want to see if you qualify for.
6. TAKE A CLASS OUTSIDE OF YOUR MAJOR. Being a well-rounded person is important for several reasons. One, it allows you to see life from different perspectives. Two, it may cause you to realize you’re interested in something you hadn’t thought of before. Three, it will teach you new skills that your other classes may not. Who knows, you may even decide to change your major or add a minor if you end up feeling a strong connection to your new studies. Some schools also offer options like fitness courses on campus to get you active while making new connections.
7. LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. The world seems to be becoming smaller and smaller since the invention of the internet and passenger jets. One thing that will really set you apart and allow you to expand personally and professionally is learning a new language. Have you always loved the food from a particular country? Do you love to dance salsa? If so, why not learn the language of the countries these interests come from? Not only will you be able to communicate with a larger network of people, but you can use this to your advantage when you apply for jobs. Dip your toes in and test it out with free app Duolingo to see what you think before you dive in to a class or personal tutoring sessions.
8. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Your college experience is a time where you can grow as a person in both your professional and personal life. It’s the time to see and do new things that you may never have considered before. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can mean something as small as trying a new type of food or as big as flying on a plane for the first time. Try challenging yourself to trying one new thing each semester, or even every month, no matter how big or small. You may discover a new-found love for Thai food or a knack for baseball you didn’t know you had before!
9. INTERN. Internships are the best way for you to get hands-on experience in your major or desired field. These days they are a requirement to graduate at many schools, and even if it’s not mandatory for you, it’s still a great idea to participate in one to see and experience things you might do one day in your actual career. You may even want to consider taking an internship abroad to see the work culture in another country and expose yourself to a wider network of professionals.
10. STUDY ABROAD. See yourself somewhere new, face challenges and have incredible experiences that will stay with you forever. Studying abroad will allow you to become independent and find out things about yourself you may not have known before. You will feel resilient, strong, and be able to navigate your way through a new city with ease. It will allow you to experience new cultures, try new foods, and learn new customs - all while receiving academic credit!
Like this article and want to read more? Subscribe to our blog below!