How I use volunteering to grow soft skills and reduce stress

by | Feb 8, 2023 | Opinion

I am a DMIT student, and my program was online for one year. I came to campus during the fall term and was not at all comfortable about this; I was not asking questions in class, had no friends and was just like a chair or table. I wanted to try co-op jobs, so I enrolled in them. Even though I have a good GPA, I am not passing the interviews. Then I realized the importance of soft skills. If I can’t communicate my skills, then what is the point of working hard to get good grades?

I decided to get involved in volunteer work on campus to improve my interpersonal skills. My first volunteer work was a position as an orientation leader in the student orientation program; during my first shift, I could not engage students and felt very nervous. After some time, I managed to answer their questions, but the day ended with the new students having to guide me to the end of the tour; it’s hilarious, I know. The next day on my second shift, I almost became a buddy with my group. I just enjoyed educating them about the services provided at NAIT and my experiences as a NAIT student. I realized they were feeling comfortable with me and excited about campus life. Their reactions boosted my confidence. I felt more comfortable and started participating in most of the events, playing different roles like game co-ordinator by checking in the students to events.

After this, students started recognizing me; when I was sitting alone and working on my assignment, one new student came to me, and we chatted for some time about facilities at NAIT, and I helped him access the Wi-Fi. This has never happened to me before volunteering. I started asking for help from my instructors. One instructor booked a meeting room and spent two hours in my interview practice. I realized the staff at NAIT is more interested in my success than I am. We just need to reach out to them. Nobody judged me, and everybody appreciated my effort.

All these campus experiences motivated me to do volunteering for a non-profit organization. I joined an excellent team as a team lead at the “Ainembabazi Children’s Project,” an organization founded by Renee Vaugeois, Executive Director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. I work with people from different backgrounds and fields, planning strategies for fundraising, and it allows me to work for children’s education and health. I am mainly involved in all this because it gave me a different perspective on life. I don’t feel like just an immigrant anymore; I have become a global citizen. I only spend three or four hours a month volunteering, so it doesn’t affect my school work, and it’s helping me evolve as a person. 

I started volunteering to work on my soft skills, but I got more than that; I gained confidence and a positive attitude and started to embrace different cultures. From my point of view, volunteering is a process of making our spare time into precious time. 

Latest Issue