A group of female volunteers pass boxes to one another

Community Service Can Help Ambitious Women Achieve Greatness

Community Service Can Help Ambitious Women Achieve Greatness

In college, it’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle. It seems like you and your peers are participating in a million things at once, and even if it’s not intentional, life can often turn into a competition for success. It’s also very easy to focus so much on personal success that the world around you seems like a blur. Participating in community service work can be a great way to assess your own values beyond competing with peers, give back to the community, and build meaningful relationships and leadership skills that can help in the future. 

Participating in community service is a great way to gain professional skills in a flexible environment that is easily accessible to students. According to Brianna Flavin’s article “Benefits of Volunteering: 9 Ways Helping Others Also Helps You ”, volunteer opportunities often involve levels of responsibility and skills above what is required for typical entry-level positions. Because of this, when students graduate and are ready to enter the workforce officially, having volunteer experience on their resume is a positive signal towards employers. 

Volunteering also allows students to make meaningful connections with both employers and peers. The nonprofit sector relies on establishing close relationships with a variety of organizations within a given area including other nonprofits, medical offices, local businesses, schools, etc. These relationships give those involved a clear opportunity for networking and expands the possibility for students to discover what they want their future career to look like. 

Because volunteer work is done without the expectation of monetary compensation, people generally choose organizations that closely align with their own values and interests. Thus, if students are looking to get involved in an organization that aligns with their worldview and meet like minded people with similar passions, volunteering is a great place to start.

On a more personal level, participating in community service is a great way to practice mindfulness and take a break from the stress that comes with being a student. On top of school work, ambitious women tend to have numerous interests and obligations, and it is easy to become overwhelmed with the busyness of life. Additionally it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about the future and trying to build an impressive resume, which often overshadows potential moments for self reflection and care. Stephanie Watson’s article “Volunteering may be good for body and mind” indicates that community service work is proven to have both physical and mental health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, stress reduction, and longer life expectancies. Taking time to give back to one’s community can be extremely cathartic and can help students find balance within their busy schedules. Students can expand their worldview by listening to people going through different experiences than themselves. Plus, the act of assessing one’s values and passions when deciding where to volunteer is a mindfulness activity in and of itself. Gratitude is an extremely important part of making goals and achieving growth, and community service can contribute to this process in extremely beneficial ways. 

Overall, the professional and personal benefits of community service work are numerous. Ambitious women can tend to overextend themselves and may be in danger of burnout, but giving back to the community helps with finding balance by simultaneously allowing participants to find their passions and values, develop unique professional and leadership skills, and build a variety of meaningful relationships with likeminded people. Check with your school’s community service center or other organizations on campus for student-oriented volunteer opportunities near you! 

Here is a link to the website for GW’s Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service.