Have you ever spent an entire day lying on the floor doing absolutely nothing? This is, of course, despite the mountains upon mountains worth of readings you ought to be doing—but instead choose to leave them for the crankier, and slightly more stressed out version of yourself that will crawl out of bed tomorrow morning. See, it is on the days where my productivity dwindles to its absolute lowest that I think back to 399 BC; where Socrates proclaimed “I owe my being to Athens,” and within this proclamation he firmly believed that—despite his ever-growing unpopularity with the elite, and perhaps as a result of this, a self-inflicted death sentence—his actions were done in sacrifice for the greater good of the state that raised him. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that often times we find ourselves so immersed with student culture (and the impeding sorrow that comes with every course reading, midterm, and last-minute assignment we find ourselves tackling) that we seem to forget about the community that has graciously fostered us—North Bay. While I understand the hesitance to add another task to the ever-expanding number of pages within your agenda, give me but a few moments to explain to you just how beneficial it is to help someone… And in return, help yourself.
Admittedly, taking up a volunteer position might add a few extra hours to your already long day; however, a few extra hours don’t necessarily correlate with extra stress—in fact, in some cases you’ll find yourself experiencing stress reduction. If you’re looking for something without a necessarily large amount of commitment, though still hugely beneficial, my personal favourite is the Humane Society! As according to a study at Harvard University, spending time with animals can severely reduce depressive symptoms. By doing this, not only will you be spending time with a pup in need of a good home, but in return you’ll be experiencing a sense of unconditional joy—a feeling you just don’t get when you’re in an exclusive relationship with your textbooks. Seriously, go check them out!
I would also like to add that taking upon yourself a volunteer position during your post-secondary studies is a great way to tailor your resume in such a way that it stands above the rest. In high school, forty hours of community service felt an awful lot like a chore, presumably because, like me, you were scrambling to meet the basic requirements—rather than pursuing your interests. Not only will this give you equally important and transferable people and organizational skills, but it will also provide you with an extra reference for your resume. Organizations such as the Red Cross, North Bay and District Multicultural Center, and even the Heritage Museum offer a variety of different tasks, specializations, and even experiences—not to mention that many of these organizations are willing to work around your busy schedule!
Finally, this experience will shape the person you become. Outside of North Bay—and of course, Nipissing University—we would not be the people we’ve grown into. And, while you wouldn’t have necessarily found Socrates at your local Gathering Place, one can imagine that your contributions to society—like his, many centuries ago—are meant to better the community we owe so much to (Pro tip: not sure where to begin? Be sure to check out the Nipissing University Student Alumni page HERE for varying volunteer opportunities).
– Amber W.