What is one thing all college students have in common? Free time. You have more free time in college than any other part of your life, or at least until retirement. For some reason we usually spend that time sleeping, watching Netflix, or doing dumb things. Not many college students realize that they could be using part of their time usually devoted to napping to help our community.

We are here for one reason: to further our education. Furthering education will (hopefully) lead to a career, and that career can influence people’s lives. So, start now. There are many ways to get involved on or off your campus; you simply have to look for opportunity. Not only does it build your resume and your character, but it's the right thing to do. Even if that means you have to wake up at six in the morning or miss one or two nights of going out, it’s worth it.

College students are often perceived as being selfish because college life is like a limbo between childhood and true adulthood. I can’t speak on behalf of every college student, but I know tons of students on my campus who are selfless. I know individuals and organizations run by college students who help others all the time, and if they can do it so can you. Your campus definitely has opportunities to get involved on or off campus, so take advantage of that! Break that stereotype!

It’s also important to think about the impact you can have on people’s lives. For example, you’re serving people in a soup kitchen. There are three people left in line, a young girl, a teenager, and an elderly man. The young girl will see you as a role model, a college students who took their time to serve her food. She could grow up and out of poverty, and possibly return the favor to others. You give her hope. The teenager will see someone closer in age, someone to relate to. If they get the time they may come talk to you; to them you’re a friend. To the elderly man, you’re a beacon of youth. It will remind him that in every generation there are good people, and you warm his heart.

These predictions could be completely off depending on the individual, but they could also be spot on. The fact that you took time away from your Netflix, studies, and bed will mean something to someone.

A small sacrifice goes a long way.

The next time you're on the fence about participating in a 5k for cancer or volunteering at the local shelter, go for it. Your presence will be greatly appreciated.