Having graduated from college forty years of work awaits you. You're hearing the siren song of the rat race. But if you haven't figured it out by now, the cookie-cutter life path of college-work-marriage-kids-death doesn't to be your path. Volunteering after college is an adventurous option that you can take to make the world a better place, and benefit yourself a little in the process. Here are some reasons why you should give it some serious thought.
Volunteering may lengthen your life If you start helping people for selfless reasons, you may live longer.
Volunteers are needed in this economy A recession hits charitable groups doubly hard, as people need more help but volunteers have less time and resources to give.
Strengthen your resume Volunteer experience can help a resume and you stand out. More employers are saying they're interested in employees with volunteer experience. And... you might land a job with the nonprofit you volunteer with.
Find your calling College grads who aren't sure what they want to do with their lives are often advised to take an internship somewhere to get a feel for life in a certain line of work. Volunteering can serve the same purpose.
Build lifelong friendships Serving alongside people has a way of forming special bonds that can last for years. The newness and uncertainty of a volunteer environment encourages you to find similarity with your fellow volunteers, which builds a basis for friendships that can last a lifetime.
Gain valuable experience Whatever capacity you volunteer in, you'll gain valuable knowledge about the world and about yourself that can be applied anywhere.
It's a great way to make contacts The connections you make with fellow volunteers could prove invaluable when you return to the search for a job. It's just one more reason it pays to be nice to everyone.
It can change your outlook on life Volunteering is a terrific way to break out of your comfort zone and show you what life is like for many people. Doing so can change your views on a number of important social issues, like welfare, public health care, education and more.
Learn about your community Whether you recognize it or not, you're part of a community, and volunteering requires you to unplug and connect with those around you.
Have your student loan forgiven For certain federal student loans, the government may agree to cancel all or a part of the loan in exchange for the student performing volunteer work. The work must be done with approved groups like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps or Volunteers in Service to America.
Learn a foreign language There's no quicker way to become fluent than by immersing yourself in a culture where that language, and nothing but that language, is spoken.
Get motivated Maybe you just haven't felt motivated to get to work now that college is over. Since objects in motion tend to stay in motion, getting off the couch and volunteering is a good way to build some momentum that can carry you into your working career.
Volunteering makes you happier Happier people tend to live longer, which may explain why volunteering makes you live longer. Making other people happy is a tried and true way to achieve happiness yourself. If you want more than chasing the almighty dollar after college, you may find joy in volunteering.
You have the rest of your life to work When you find a job, get married, and have kids, it becomes harder to find time to volunteer close to home, and much harder to volunteer halfway around the world. There will never be a better time than right now.