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Tips for Service Learning in the Real World

Starting volunteering can be tough. If finding an amazing place to commit to isn't hard enough, many have application processes and interviews. Here are some tips to make you stand out of the crowd:

1.      Be honest and realistic about the amount of time you are willing to commit to the organization.  It’s easier to start small and increase your commitment, than back out later.
2.      Visit the organization beforehand to get a feel for the location.
3.      Find out more about the agency and your role as a volunteer. Ask for a job description so that you can decide if it is appropriate for you. You don't want to feel out of place or useless and this will eliminate troubles later.
4.      Ask about training and supervision.
5.      Volunteering is a chance for personal growth and it allows you to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Reinforce material and skills learned in class
  • Meet new people
  • Explore possible career opportunities
  • Feel good about themselves and the community

So don't be embarrassed to ask for a letter of recommendation or evaluation so that you can let others see the hard work you have put in. 
6.      Be ENTHUSIASTIC. Nobody wants a taciturn, reserved person. Open up to the world, because this is your chance.
7.      Don't be afraid to try. Volunteering does not require a degree or major, only a willingness to try. If you don't like what you are doing, don't feel bad to quit and start a new volunteering project. Being a volunteer is an unpaid effort that you should want to do; not something forced into.