For some people, community service recalls negative associations. It seems like work, effort, and time are things that you could be putting into other aspects of your life instead of community service. This can especially feel true for busy college students. Between class, work, personal lives, studying, extracurricular activities, and everything in between, taking time out of our lives for others can be difficult. However, dedicating just a small amount of time every month for service can benefit you in so many incredible ways.
First of all, service can be as small or as large as you want it to be. It can be as grand as planning a large fundraising event, or as simple as writing letters to mail to soldiers. There are many options to find community service and so many ways to do it. It does not take a ton of time or money. In fact, you do not even have to plan it yourself. Joining in with other organizations is a fun and easy way to serve others and make friends along the way. This is just one of the many “selfish” reasons for serving.
If you are the type of person seeking out ways to serve around your community, or even around the world, then you are most likely already a selfless person. In that case, you can stand to find a little bit of selfishness in your work. One benefit is your health, both mental and physical. According to a study done by the Corporation for National and Community Service, “those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” Serving others gives you more opportunities to stay mentally and physically active, which allows you to quicken your mind and exercise your body more. It seems obvious that service projects that require more physical exertion would help you become healthier, but actively serving strengthens your mind and body.
Helping others also gives you more of a purpose, causing significant elevations in mood and general happiness. Createthegood.org states that service produces the same endorphins in your brain that exercise does. It makes you happier, less irritable, and reduces your stress levels. When you are helping, you are happy.
A significant benefit for college students is that it helps us pursue more academic, professional, and personal endeavors. Being involved with service projects allows you to try out different work places, environments, and hobbies that you may not otherwise have a chance to pursue. It also allows you to develop skills as you seek out activities that will allow you to work on areas you are lacking in, whether it be public speaking, budgeting, or even knitting. You also begin to make connections in the community, or even around the world, and better yourself. By completing tasks for others, you are able to try new hobbies and discover qualities about yourself. You can learn so much about yourself through service. It allows for great professional and personal development.
Dieter F. Uchtforf said, “As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” Making time for service can be so simple and can have so many benefits. By striving to love and help our fellow men, we are able to develop our own skills and become happier. Greater physical and mental health is achievable as we find fulfillment in our work. We also have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how to achieve greater personal happiness. When we are serving others, we are doing a service to ourselves.