TDuring your application for a scholarship, one of the fields you could fill in concerned your volunteering efforts. Hopefully, that field did not only contain your mandatory Community Involvement Programme (CIP) experience.
Volunteering your time and effort to help others is a noble act that has benefits not only those receiving aid, but yourself as well.
So, what do you gain from volunteering? The answer is not “something nice to tell the scholarship interviewer”. Let us count the ways:
A New Look on Life
Volunteering puts us into contact with people normally far removed from our lives, be they beneficiaries or fellow volunteers. We interact with them, learn about them, help them… and in the process, they do the same for us.
Particularly for scholarships with government ministries, understanding what it’s like for people “on the ground” is vital to future policy planners and decision makers. Alexander Lim, Ministry of Social and Family Development Singapore Government Scholar 2020, decided to apply with the aforementioned ministry after his CIP experience.
An Individual Edge
Sponsoring organisations interview hundreds of applicants, looking for someone to groom. How can you stand out in the crowd of exceptional students with good grades, great CCA participation, and glowing testimonials?
One of the best ways to make your mark as an individual is to show that individuality, and volunteering is a great way to do it.
Where did you volunteer, for how long, and what thoughts and ideas did you gain as a result – those are intangible sparks of individual achievement that no other student can replicate, as they are uniquely yours. (Even if someone else had volunteered with the same organisation, they wouldn’t experience it the way you did.)
“Anything you don’t like to do builds character” – is a popular justification for eating your vegetables, making your bed, and studying for that test when you’d rather watch TikTok videos. But the above is definitely true of volunteering.
Volunteering takes time and effort, packing one more regular task into an already-packed schedule. Also, not everyone will be appreciative, and some of the work will be tedious or difficult.
It goes to follow that its rewards are infinite. The sense of accomplishment achieved in knowing you have helped to better the life of someone else is indescribable. You might also be able to discover new interests or strengths within you and feel empowered to take on greater, more fulfilling projects.
A Great Networking Opportunity
By volunteering, you’ll form relationships with many people – vendors, suppliers, beneficiaries, and colleagues. Any of them could end up being useful future contacts whom you can rely on in the future. On a more immediate level, a supervisor or head of a charity organisation can write a testimonial regarding your contributions as well.
Also, volunteering gets you out of your comfort zone by forcing you to interact with others from very different backgrounds. Your experiences with these people – both the good and the bad – will help you broaden your worldview as you see the world as they do.
Make the most of your free time, and help somebody out!