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How volunteering can change your life

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In recognition of International Volunteer Day, we thought we'd remind you of the benefits of volunteering, and why you should sign up to volunteer as soon as possible! 

Volunteering is a great way to start getting involved in the community, especially when you are not old enough to work. Volunteering can improve your CV, as well as help you make friends and expand your social group. Additionally, you can learn and improve skills that will help you at work, making you an indispensable employee.

Aren't convinced? Below are five key reasons why you should start volunteering:

1.) Getting to explore different careers

It can be hard to choose a career path you want to take, especially when you have only heard about doing these jobs, but never experienced what it is actually like. Although it might not completely nail down what you want to do, being able to work with people in these positions can give you a more narrow focus on career paths you might want to look into. While volunteering can show you sides of any business, and thus help you think about many different career paths, there are a few volunteering positions which are especially relevant to certain jobs. These include volunteering at a library or hospital, where you will be able to see exactly how a future as a librarian, nurse or doctor would go. 

2.) Keeps you busy

I know a lot of self-diagnosed workaholics who love staying busy. If you are one of these people it can be very fun and intriging doing something different each day. One day you are wheeling around patients in wheelchairs, and the next day petting cats, helping children read, or even shelving books.

3.) Meeting new people 

Whether you are very social or very shy, volunteering introduces you to a wide range of people. These people are likely to share interests (as you are all volunteering) and so new friendships can be made.  Additionally, you are able to volunteer with the same people on a weekly or monthly basis, so you get the opportunity to learn about new people and form strong friendships. Volunteering in a specific niche allows you to meet many people with similar interests to you, which you might not have been able to do at school. It gives you something to do in your free time and helps with your social skills, as well as your ability to work in a team. 

4.) Getting involved with your community

Sometimes when attending school or university it can be easy to stay in a bubble that consists of the same school activities and people. You may not realise that there is so much more than just your school and the people in it. When volunteering you can find so much more about the area in which you live, be it a city, town or village. Plus, you get more opportunities to meet new people and find out about different communities in the area. 

5.) Helping your future

As previously mentioned, volunteering can help narrow down different career paths, which in turn helps you plan your future. Additionally, it looks great on a CV, especially if you volunteer over a reasonably long period of time. However, volunteering can also help you learn a wide range of different skills you will need throughout your life, such as communication.

Volunteering forces you out of your comfort zone, as you need to work with other people to get things done. You also learn time management skills, as being prompt and getting things done on time is key. When you were at school you typically never really needed time managment, because everything was monitored for you by teachers. Now you're at university or work, you are entirely responsible for making sure you have time to get where you are going and do what you need to do. As such, learning a skill like time management will come in very handy and help you create good habits that will soon feel natural. 

Needless to say, volunteering will help you continue to learn and grow. It is encouraged that everyone volunteer if they ever get the chance, as it is a great and worthy thing to do, as well as an impressive CV point. It is undoubtedly worth evey minute, not only improving your personality, knowledge and social skills, but significantly helping the community as well. 

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