5 THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEER
Tomila Sahbaei | June 17th 2021 | 2 min read
“Volunteering as a high school student is a very rewarding experience. Here are the top 5 things that every student should consider when starting out as a volunteer!”
1. Time Management
Time management is key as a High School Volunteer. You will need to learn how to balance your studies with your volunteer tasks. Online calendars are usually free and offer multiple features for you to organize your responsibility. You can colour code your schedule to indicate what tasks are for school and which are for your volunteer work, alongside setting yourself reminders so you don’t leave a task to the last minute. Finding an effective flow in your schedule will make you a more efficient student, and a more dedicated volunteer!
2. When to say no & dealing with burnout
Burnout is inevitable if you don’t take care of yourself and balance your tasks. It happens to everyone; however, people deal with it in different ways. Some individuals deny moments of burnout, often working until the possible last-minute until they crash. The best way to counter burnout is to know when to say no. It’s important to know your own boundaries, and how many responsibilities you can take on. If you know you’ve got too much on your plate, and you’re asked to do more, be honest with the person asking you, explain your situation, and offer to help find another qualified individual for the task. This usually takes much less time than doing the entire task yourself. Remember that everyone struggles with burnout, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or awkward about admitting it.
3. Know how to communicate
In this current pandemic, it’s much more likely that you’ll be communicating online than in person. Knowing how to write a good email is key. Start the email off with the appropriate address of the email receiver. ‘Dear…’; ‘Hello…’ are commonly used starters. If you don’t know who exactly you’re addressing, use: ‘To whom it may concern. You’ll follow with the body of the email. If you’re asking for a favour, ask the person: ‘I was wondering if you would be willing to…’. It makes you sound considerate, rather than demanding. End the email with your signature, but first say something like: ‘Thank you for your time,’ or ‘Warm regards,’. Then include your name, pronouns, email or phone number, and if you are working in an organization it is a good idea to include the name of the organization and your specific position.
4. Have the right documents
This is more relevant for the work that comes before landing a volunteer position, but even if you have already got a position, it’s a good idea to consider having these documents readily available. Firstly, you’ll want to have a master resume. The master part just means that it’s going to be a resume that is formatted but contains all of your past work experiences, schooling, references, awards, languages, et cetera. Then, when you find a position you’re interested in, you’ll make a copy of the master resume and edit the resume, so it only contains the relevant information for the position you’re applying to. Make sure to update your resume accordingly. Secondly, it’s not as important but it will definitely make your life easier to have a cover letter template ready at hand. Following the same process as the resume, when there’s a potential position, all you’ll need to do is make a copy of the cover letter and edit it accordingly.
5. Organize your space
When you’re sitting down to do work, it’s good to start with a clean and open environment. Make sure you have the relevant materials near you, whether it be pens and paper, or having the appropriate documents and applications open on a computer. Filing systems are extremely helpful, especially with everything being online. Keep a specific folder on your computer for your volunteer position, this way you avoid it getting mixed up with other files. A planner or calendar application is always extremely helpful too, as I mentioned under previous points!