By Phoebe Primost, Bachelor of Education and Arts
Volunteering has always been a big part of my life as a typical undergrad student, but I've always wondered what we can learn from it, why I chose to volunteer, and how volunteering influenced my decision to join the Global Leadership Program at Macquarie University. To begin, why volunteer? Volunteering generally entails assisting someone less fortunate than yourself or assisting in situations where a large number of people will be present, such as at music festivals and local city events (such as for me with the opportunity to volunteer with Vinnies in Sydney as part of gaining Experiential Credit Points towards the completion of the Global Leadership Program (GLP). Due to a hectic university schedule, I have been unable to commit to these volunteer opportunities fully. Despite this, I am still passionate about the positive effects that volunteer opportunities have on people. Another reason I recommend people volunteer is to make connections. Because I had the courage to sign up to volunteer for things, I made many friends along the way with whom I am still in contact today. This is useful for my degree such as it was in my most recent volunteer experience with Macquarie University's Junior Science Academy. The staff were all very nice, and I made many friends who are teachers, which is useful for my future studies in education and the arts.
I've discovered that volunteering can help people become more compassionate individuals. People may believe that volunteers are only there to help the community because their school or workplace wants them to learn about something. However, I believe that this is up to the school or workplace arrangements. Volunteering changes people; it has taught me important skills such as how to confidently introduce myself to new people and how to manage my time. Volunteering teaches people about respect, kindness, and happiness. These abilities can lead to an amazing Global Leadership Program journey. Respect and kindness are learning skills that relate to the GLP's core values of leadership, global mindset, and especially social stewardship, which involve volunteering to help others. Offering our time consistently teaches us the value of society and the world in which we live. The GLP uses I-Learn modules to educate GLP students about ways to be sustainable for future generations. Volunteering in local neighbourhoods to assist with gardening and garbage collection assists in the implementation of those teachings. Friends frequently ask me how GLP experiences like volunteering affect the university lifestyle. I've discovered that participating in the GLP has helped me to gain a better understanding of how, as a university student,I can help out in the world. Volunteering with organisations such as the Junior Science Academy, as well as others in the future, enables me to broaden my connections with students and opportunities on campus. The GLP is always willing to discuss units and skills that are available to/can be claimed by GLP students. This generosity motivates me to continue my current GLP journey.
Because volunteering involves meeting students from all over the world, students will have the opportunity to understand cross-cultural comparisons between countries, which will help them become culturally literate. Being culturally literate, in my opinion, is a good skill for volunteering because it allows people to understand what someone else may be going through.
Since I know that starting the GLP can be daunting, I wanted to end this post with some useful tips for First Year GLP'ers:
1. Use your time proactively. Use the Global Leadership Program emails sent by GLP staff to find ways to earn experiential credit points and to find exciting opportunities to embrace new skills
2. Use the advisor/s. You can use the advisor/s for questions about whether units can be claimed for experiential credit or if you have any queries about rules or opportunities provided by the GLP
3. Attending talks like “Connect with GLP Alumni” is highly recommended for first-year students as they will be provided with valuable advice on balancing workload in chosen degrees and gaining general knowledge about how workload changes as a degree progresses. Each faculty that a degree falls under has a different “Connect with GLP Alumni” talk that interested students can attend.
Thank you, GLP for your ongoing involvement in my university journey!