Volunteer hours. They are required for scholarships, high schools and Greek organizations. For many students, requirements can be synonymous with chores. It's something you have to do to achieve another goal, a bump thrown in your run towards completion. If you are without a cause, then it can even feel like a hurdle. This is not necessary! People, whether they are or not, use the busy excuse when confronted with requirements. However, if you personalize your service a bit, then volunteering can be whatever you want.
1. Personalize your service.
If you are truly passionate about something, then it never feels like work. Cooks can volunteer to cook at local soup kitchens or facilitate bake sales. Artists can volunteer to paint murals or participate in art centered outreach programs. Science lovers, check out opportunities at local schools and museums. Athletes, sign up to play Buddy Ball. If you hate being outdoors, then find something you can do inside. Conversely, if you love being outside, then find a way to volunteer in the great outdoors! Beach clean-up anyone? There seems to be a connotation that service is synonymous with work, when in actuality it has more in common with fun, friendship and good vibes. Personalize your experience and it can be that much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
2. Find a cause you can get behind.
Connecting with people through shared experience is a wonderful thing to be a part of. I would argue it is essential to a happy life. Driving cancer patients to treatment, or helping with disaster relief provides the chance to be the person on the other side. Here is the opportunity to either honor those who helped you, by continuing the tradition or to ensure someone else receives the aid you wished you had. Fighting for something you feel strongly about is exhilarating and conviction can be its own supernatural force, so channel it.
3. Share the experience with others.
Let's be honest, making dinner for the families at the Ronald McDonald House is not all that different from having a bake off with friends. However, instead of doubling the already ridiculous sugar intake of a slumber party, it provides a meal to families in a stressful situation. Service is a great way to have a good time and bond with others. Couldn't the same old movies and mall routine use a break anyway?
Service does good, and it feels good. Maybe manual labor isn't for you, and that's OK. It doesn't mean you can't have a positive, fulfilling service experience.