Do you want to make a difference in society but don’t think you have time for it? Welcome to the club.
Most of us are in this club because we do not know how or where to start. I have been looking for motivation and an opportunity to do volunteer work for a long time. However, it wasn’t until I met my friend and fellow university student Sidra tul Muntaha, who recently immigrated to Canada from Denmark, that I finally felt inspired to do it.
Muntaha is involved in volunteer work, which she does while also writing articles for magazines and different newspapers. She inspired me and I want to share that inspiration with my fellow students who need a little spark of motivation to get started.
One day, while lying down, thinking about life, I suddenly stood up in discomfort.
I got a feeling that I was not doing enough, as if there was something missing from my life. I asked myself, if I were to die right now, who’s going to talk about me other than my family?
What legacy was I going to leave behind?
As Paulo Coelho said, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” That’s exactly what happened.
I started to look for opportunities and new doors kept opening for me. I checked my PAWS announcements everyday to find out which volunteer activities were suitable for me. I looked for opportunities outside of the university and even outside of the country. I thought about making my university recognized in different countries in that way.
Muntaha says that if you love something and if it resonates with your soul, you have to make time for that task. All the volunteer work that she does is not a chore, but fun for her. I thought of the skills that I have and realized that I like to write. I have written essays in class and gotten good grades and I have also written articles for my school magazine.
That’s why I started volunteering for the Sheaf.
Muntaha tells me, “Volunteer activities are so close to my heart that it gives me a sense of motivation and makes me feel useful.” I can relate to this feeling. When I finish my volunteer tasks, I feel productive.
In addition, volunteer work can help you when looking for a job. As many students at this time of the year, I am looking for a summer job. Volunteer work gives you experience to put on your resume, even when you may not have had a job yet.
Volunteering proves that you can coordinate with other people and demonstrates your social skills. With volunteer work, you can learn many skills and apply them to more than one industry. You cannot learn all these skills just by studying one field at school.
Lastly, if you think that you cannot do volunteer work during a pandemic, think again. Volunteering is not limited to going outside of the house — you can do it while sitting on your couch. For example, I conduct research for a radio channel in the UK and write articles from the comfort of my bed at home.
The place you are looking for is right there in your mind. It only depends on what you think you can do.
Like my favorite poem by Walter D. Wintle says,
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a reply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Shanzy Mubarik is a second-year undergraduate student studying food and bioproduct sciences and is passionate about giving back to the community.
Graphic: Anh Phan