In an ideal existence, everyone would have unrestricted access to each opportunity available. Words like “poor” or “rich,” “lucky,” or “unfortunate,” would be empty sounds; devoid of context, and therefore meaningless. But we don’t live like that. Instead, we strike a balance between growth and suffering; we need strife to grow, but pain in excess can permanently stunt us, killing our dreams. For many underprivileged families, the crushing struggle to secure basic human needs can severely limit opportunity and promise undue suffering.
Luckily, opportunity is not a solitary event; to come to pass, an opportunity must be both provided, and taken advantage of. Anyone who conquers their dreams despite inheriting less than glamorous circumstances can likely attribute a bit of their success to taking advantage of opportunities, such as mentorship or assistance, provided by others.
College is a great example of opportunity’s mutual nature. We come here to learn, and to succeed involves absorbing and using others’ knowledge. When we go to class; when we listen to lectures and ask questions, we contribute a part of ourselves to a massive, collaborative opportunity: the learning process.
This is why despite our current or former circumstances, all college students might consider committing to one particular opportunity, one which too often goes unspoken, even as it constantly changes and grows us. We can commit to giving back; to providing a bit of our own opportunity to those who would otherwise never know it.
A while ago, I started a nonprofit group called GIVE (Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education), with the mission of improving communities’ quality of life by encouraging youth leadership. As a high school student soon to enroll in college, I figured GIVE would be a great way to share opportunity, while also growing myself by gaining valuable experience and insight into the mechanics of community interaction and non-profit work.
Through GIVE’s efforts, I gained something much more beneficial than a simple resume boost. Community outreach helped me realize how much I truly loved seeing kids take advantage of opportunity to rise to their fullest potential, and it provided me with the tools I need to better create that opportunity; I gained the valuable management skills, interpersonal experience and the knowledge needed to maintain the framework of a successful organization.
The mutual opportunities and benefits offered through volunteering don’t end there, however. College students determined to search out new experience can use community service to explore and determine outlets of interest, both on a professional and personal level. Students drawn to certain jobs can realize their dream careers by volunteering a few hours a week with a related organization.
So if you enjoy helping great people get what they deserve out of life, it won’t matter whether you’re bent on finding an ideal career, need job experience or simply want to do something new; you’ll have a great time giving back. Get out there and volunteer today!