Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Counseling Stories: Volunteering

Graphic image with the word "Volunterr" across the top, and hands reaching up to volunteer.

Students are often undecided what major or career goal they want to pursue once they begin college. As a counselor, a common suggestion I give to those students that are ambivalent about their long-term professional goals is to take courses in a variety of different subjects.

Another recommendation I offer frequently is take a career assessment to learn what occupations may coincide with your interests and personality. But one of the best ideas I propose is to immerse yourself into the real-world environments of potential careers to obtain a realistic perspective of the profession you are exploring. One of the ways to do this is through acquiring volunteer experience.

Volunteering provides a realistic picture for a student to assist professionals with the duties and responsibilities required by their occupation. It also affords you the opportunity to learn how specific individuals obtained their current profession, as many professionals embark on different paths that lead them to the same occupation.

A helpful website to find countless volunteer openings in numerous industries such as advocacy and human rights, animals, arts and culture, and the environment in your area is http://www.volunteermatch.org/.

Donating your time to volunteering provides a less intimidating way to network with individuals, which can lead to internship opportunities, mentoring relationships, and even employment.

Remember- college is the time to take advantage of all the opportunities available to you to help you reach your career goals.

Contributed by Rio Salado Counselor Elena Matus McDonald on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.