Hi everyone, hope you’re having a great summer so far!

 As with my previous two summer breaks, I’ve been spending some time volunteering. In the past I’ve worked for a charity, a library and also volunteered with Warwick Mind Aware during term time. This year I’ve been working with a local theatre company which has been a really exciting and rewarding experience. I’ve really enjoyed all of the volunteering I’ve done over the past few years – each place I’ve worked at has taught me new skills, introduced me to great people and helped me grow in confidence. In this post, I want to talk more about some of the benefits of volunteering and why it’s something you might want to get involved with this summer or in the new term!

One of the best things about volunteering is that it allows you to branch out and meet new people outside of uni or your specific course. In my experience, the atmosphere has always been friendly and there is less pressure on you than there is in a paid job which gives you the chance to get to know the people around you better.

I’ve also found volunteering to be a great mood-booster. After finishing Term 3 I felt really burnt out from revision and stressed about choosing a dissertation topic. Doing some volunteer work has really helped me to feel more myself again; being productive and useful to someone else has taken my mind off of uni worries, gotten me out of the house and generally helped me to wind down after the pressure of exam season. Volunteering is also great for confidence as taking on a new challenge and being appreciated by who you’re working for is a great reminder of how capable you are, helping you to feel more confident and positive about approaching new things in the future.

Spending time volunteering will also really enhance your CV as it allows you to develop experience in a variety of areas, find new causes to support and discover new interests. It’s also a good way to make professional connections and add to your references which will be a great help when job-hunting.

Although unpaid work isn’t always a viable option, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer on a more casual and occasional basis. Groups such as Warwick Volunteers and Warwick Mind Aware provide students with opportunities to volunteer during term time and there are lots of charities and organisations who take on volunteers in Coventry and Leamington. Looking online is a useful way to find volunteering opportunities but you can also attend volunteering fairs to find out more about what’s on offer and chat to people face to face.

The volunteering I’ve done has been extremely valuable and fulfilling – it’s made me  happier, more confident and has given me a better sense of the kind of work I could be doing after university. Volunteering is definitely something I want to do more of in the future and I hope this post has inspired you to volunteer too!