Is volunteering a helping hand for your future?

Can you combine the law faculty with other activities? How? Just do it. Do not think that you don’t have time (I won’t have anyway), that you want to be focused only on your courses (you won’t be all the time), or that you don’t know how to do that and that (you will learn on the go). Sooner or later, we will need a “day off” from our daily routine. Each of us is free to choose that/those day/days off. I have chosen for a couple of years to have “hours off” daily. Looking back, I can say it was the best decision until now.

Being a graduate law student, I have learned that almost all the answers have an “it depends”. Sometimes, even if the answer has no “it depends”, you are tempted to say it. Believe me, after 5 years surrounded by hundreds of laws, regulations, trials you will have all the chances to get a certification as “Expert graduate law student in using <<it depends on>> phrase”. The worst is when you start using it in your personal life. It is not recommended to answer your soulmate with “it depends” on the question “Do you love me?”. This is the happy case when you have one.

Bolzano, March 2020This being said, let’s turn back to our main discussion. From my personal experience, I would say that volunteering can help you and not. So, it depends. If you are involved in the activities you are doing, you could find a lot of opportunities and ideas for your future career. If you are part of a volunteer activity just to “look good” on your CV, you are not doing something useful for your personal and professional development.

I was involved more than three years in volunteer activities, and I would do it again hundreds of times. It takes time, energy, and patience but I don’t regret anything I have done. I have learned that there will always be something new to learn, that responsibility is the key to everything, and that your team can become part of your life. But the most important is that all of them brought a rose petal to complete the final bouquet.

Autumn in Bolzano, Nov 2019Volunteer activities not only shape your character, but they also help you to achieve important skills which will be useful for your daily life. If I had to choose one of all the activities I was part of, I could not. This is because each of them had its beauty, ups, and downs, mistakes, and lessons. Each one was a different challenge at a different stage in life. Instead, I could pick up the most challenging of them: Interreg volunteering through the European Solidarity Corps in northern Italy. Why do I consider it the most challenging? Because it is international. Because it is a new field in comparison with previous ones. Because it brings me more than just colleagues in an international research institute. After almost one year spent in a beautiful city, I collected memories and friends for a lifetime.

Guncina walk- Bolzano, Feb 2020The IVY (Interreg Volunteer Youth) experience is an important asset for my future. It makes me more confident and it gives me the urge to be more determined to put my dreams into practice. I have the chance to learn from experts, to improve my skills, to discover new ones, to learn a new foreign language and so on. Furthermore, I have the great honor to live in the heart of mountains – “heaven on earth” as I use to call it. Through IVY, I had the opportunity to learn that life is too short to have regrets and to think that something is unachievable. There is nothing impossible, maybe harder than you expected. I like to believe that each of us can do that “impossible” with perseverance, patience, and courage.

Even if I think I already answered the question raised at the beginning of the article, I will conclude with a clear one. Yes, volunteering helps a lot. It is up to you in what sense. You have to be brave and to access all the opportunities you have in front of you because a lot is waiting for you. I was always inspired by Jean Monnet’s quotes and one fits perfectly with all I have said above: “Everybody is ambitious. The question is whether he is ambitious to be or ambitious to do”.

Angela Gabor

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