By Cynthia Oh ’97
UCLA is a university of diversity and involvement. As a student, you have endless opportunities to take part in your community. After you graduate, no one will be forcing fliers into your hands on Bruin Walk anymore. It’s up to you to seek out an organization that fits your interests, values and abilities.
Joining an organization is more than just a way to meet friends or bulk up your resume. You might be surprised at how much you can gain and how rich your life can become!
Here are five reasons to get involved:
- Develop leadership qualities. Being in charge of a project or a group of people means you’ll have to research and plan before you lead. Your job as a leader will be to guide others in positive directions. You’ll gain discipline, patience and problem-solving skills.
- Network with peers. If leadership isn’t your thing, spend time getting to know your peers. Working on the kinds of projects that interest you can be really fun and allow you to show off your skills. Networking with your peers can inspire discussions on career paths – you can share your own experiences, learn from others and be the first to hear about open positions.
- Improve communication skills. Observing how other organization members and leaders communicate can help you improve your communication skills. If you like the way another person communicates, try incorporating some of these ideas into your own style.
- Learn about the world and yourself. Learn more about how other groups of people conduct themselves in their daily lives by joining an organization. Explore your own interests and hobbies and share these interests with others. There are clubs and organizations for just about every interest, hobby and issue.
- Contribute to your community. Why not make a positive difference in your community by donating your time and skills? When you contribute ideas and abilities to your organization’s team, you’re affecting the community at large. Your actions truly can make a difference.
The Internet is a great resource for finding an organization that’s right for you – sites to visit: idealist.org, laworks.com, volunteermatch.com, lajcc.com. Also, be sure to put the word out among your friends and co-workers that you’re looking to volunteer.