In pursuit of volunteerism, I sought out diverse experiences so as to appreciate the dynamic nature of life. Therefore, I have served at a construction site, as an organization driver, database designer, data analyst, freelance writer, laboratory technician, global health research intern and a domestic messenger. There are several invaluable lessons I have gotten as a result of offering my time and abilities to others in exchange for experience and new knowledge. These include expanded social and professional networks, mentorship and training opportunities, improved attitude, improved interpersonal relationships, and becoming more realistic with academic knowledge.
I may have earned a little bit from the tasks entrusted to me, but I mainly sought to experience a little more life. For instance, being an organization driver helped me visit people in remote parts of my country ( a developing country), thereby peeking into the way of life of the poorer members of society; while the global health research internship was useful in my planning and exploring a health career path. Being a domestic messenger was a gap period when I could reflect and explore my inner self to establish who I am, what I desire in life, what I am capable of and what I can do to make the realization of my dreams possible.
A volunteer can be anything ranging from a noble to an opportunist, all depending on how another individual perceives your volunteerism. The value attached to volunteering has been relative to I being a resourceful person at one point and nagging fellow at another place and time. Based on experience so far, others have perceived me to be something ranging from a semi-literate fellow to cheap labor or ranging from a student to someone with a promising potential. Other people’s attitude was not however as important as my goals when I offered my time and skills in exchange for new networks, knowledge, and experiences.
My volunteering had been motivated by fear and compulsiveness. When I wasn’t sure of the path to take, it helped me get a peek into what lies ahead before committing myself. It gave me a taste of the real deal without enslaving self. When I had a goal, volunteerism helped me have a clear picture of what it would be like when I eventually got what I wanted. Visualization of a goal before planning for it has helped me pursue goals in a more motivated way than merely going after what I want. As a person that fears to make mistakes or making a self-limiting choice, it has helped me know how to weigh choices and consequences before actually committing self to a deal/action plan.
There are several downsides of volunteerism too such as time lost to irrelevant pursuits. For instance, working at a family construction site was meant to help me grow insights into investment. It, however, was irrelevant to my career as a medical laboratory scientist, and aspiring global health researcher. It, however, helped me sharpen my social intelligence.
There was a time I used to think that volunteerism entails giving 100% of my time to something for free or at a subsidized fee. This has however changed with growing experience around life responsibilities. We’re always doing something major that is not necessarily our primary field of interest. But then we got some spare time that can be used to gain valuable networks, valuable knowledge, and valuable experience. Volunteerism on part-time involves exchanging what you can offer for what you want By using the spare time efficiently, strategizing how to lead your life to reach your goals, you will be able to transition from where you are to where you want to be. Where you are may take most of your time e.g., an 8-5 job. However, where you want to be will be made possible by efficient utilization of your spare time.
Therefore, lead your life to reach your goals; live deliberately.