Volunteering Is Good For More Than Just Your Resume
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Volunteering is Good for More than Just Your Resume

How a cold, early morning changed my perspective for the better.

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Volunteering is Good for More than Just Your Resume
Kamryn Romano

We're all suckers for an opportunity to strengthen our resumes, but have you ever thought about why you're doing what you're doing? Joining a club or volunteering at a charity event for a good cause is a great thing to bring up in job interviews, but I've realized that if you actually put thought into what you're getting involved in, you get so much more out of it.

This past weekend, I traveled to Flint with my best friends to volunteer for the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk. Getting up early and dreading the cold weakened my excitement for this event-but once I got there, I felt so guilty that I even had those negative thoughts.

1. Going through the motions vs caring

Kamryn Romano

Throughout my life, I made a constant effort to become involved in anything and everything. From being on the dance team to joining the National Honor Society to Student Council, I always wanted to have a hand in helping others, but I don't think my focus was always just on that. Growing up we were told that if we didn't do extracurricular or volunteer work, we wouldn't get accepted into the college of our choice. Many students half-assed community service hours and clubs just to get the recognition- and I did that sometimes as well.

What I realized at this walk was how much you actually get out of an experience if you don't just go through the motions. We started by passing out these ribbons to raise awareness and allow supporters to wear some pink. My friends and I waltzed around, scoping out those who didn't already have them. What ended up happening was incredible encounters with amazing people who shared their stories. Because I let myself become fully immersed and learn from their experiences, the time went by so fast, and I was left not wanting to leave.

2. Character Building

It's what's on the inside that counts right? That's what I tell myself when I look like a potato for class. But character really is the best part of a person, and the best way to build character is to shift your perspective and try to walk in other peoples' shoes. Volunteering, especially around so many people that survived a disease so terrifying, humbled me and reminded me what's important in life. The fact that they had such a positive outlook and were still so generous after having so much taken away from them reminded me of qualities I want to have within myself.

3. Meeting Survivors

The survivors gathered for a photo while the audience cheered, smiled, and cried.

Kamryn Romano

My all-time favorite part of this experience was meeting the smiling, energetic survivors who live and breath for this cause. I have never seen such a large group of people dancing and laughing so early in the morning. One lady led a jazzercise class for warm-up, and I danced with an amazing, young woman who had beat cancer and is now a special education teacher. She was one of the most lively, fun individuals I've encountered, and was definitely a better dancer than me.

One man also came up to me, and he looked as though he had seen hard times. He told me that his mother died of breast cancer 30 years ago, and he's come to walk the 5k every year since it began 20 years ago. It didn't seem like he had much, so the fact that he made it a priority to show his support and be a part of the community made my heart warm. People from so many different backgrounds with so many different stories came to one place to celebrate cancer survivors and fight for those still fighting. These survivors were so positive and proud, and spread such a sense of joy around them.

4. Impact

Kamryn Romano

One particular group of women stood out to me. They called themselves the "Blister Sisters", and are survivors of breast cancer that have attended every Making Strides walk since it first began. The were so passionate about the cause, and it goes to show how supporting charities and pursuing passions in life can also bring you amazing, lifelong friends. Volunteering truly is a win-win, because yes you are giving back, but you are also getting so much in return. They say you leave a little piece of yourself at every meeting with another person, and these survivors and supporters definitely changed my perspective. I don't know why I complained about getting up early and being cold when I was gaining so much more than I was giving.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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