If I watch one more episode of That 70’s Show alone on my couch, I may go mad; my roommate is counting the days. The pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. The days all feel the same, we’re asked to avoid social events, and some of us are lonelier than ever. Not to mention that the winter term has now been confirmed to be online so the optimistic image of reuniting in classes and cafes on campus is no longer as rosy. However, thankfully there’s still a way to remain connected in our community that perhaps you hadn’t yet thought of. Volunteering is a fantastic way to make yourself and others feel a little less alone during these stressful times. Now more than ever it is chance to give back. It’s a mutually beneficial opportunity for you to gain valuable experience and get involved with issues that you care about.
Naturally as students our lives are busy enough between assignments, those readings that we all definitely do (yea...), and working to pay for food, but thankfully there are so many different short and long-term options available to make life a little easier. The time commitments are flexible, ranging from 3-5 hours a week on average, but you also have the option to do “days of service” for a day or less. Of course, because of COVID-19, the majority of the placements are virtual but those that are in person are verified to follow public health guidelines.
Not only is volunteering a great use of time, it also looks really good on a resume. Myla Monica, an international student in social sciences, volunteered with the University of Ottawa Press (UOP) to practice her French and ended her placement with a summer job offer. For her, community engagement means, “trying to help out whomever you can. The more you help, the more you gain from the community.”
All your placements are logged on your Co-curricular Record which you can use for grad school, job applications, and even scholarship opportunities. Check out some of the featured ones like the Gilles G.Patry Student Engagement Fund, the Alan Rock Scholars Fund, and the one from the Pathy Foundation Fellowship that gives you the chance to receive up to $40,000.
Make the most out of this time by making it better for others, otherwise you may find it turns out to be the best thing you never did.