As the school day ends, a second-year Algonquin student’s work is only beginning. Some nights Abrauna (Bruno) Yakubu, 27, may be organizing lunches for his peers to meet professionals in their field, while others, he may be preparing a board of directors meeting for his bosses.
He’s preparing himself for a life beyond school. Through his work, the e-business supply chain management student is preparing for his career by gaining skills and earning letters of reference. He has developed a realistic picture of where he wants to be.
He’s not alone.
Students, both past and present, have found that volunteering has helped them to not only succeed in the world beyond their studies, but to enjoy their time in school exponentially more.
Yakubu has been volunteering for Advancing Productivity, Innovation, and Competitive Success for two years now and considers his work with them to be an excellent continuation of his learning outside the classroom.
His work has allowed him to network with professionals in the business, adapt to changing technology trends, learn how to market himself and follow along with where jobs in his field will exist once he graduates.
“APICS has sort of kept me in that culture of learning because I’m working with professionals,” said Yakubu. “It’s helped me stay in the loop, (with) what’s going on in terms of jobs.”
Yakubu began volunteering for APICS before starting his program at the college. APICS is a sponsor of his program.
But not all volunteer work is as daunting as being associated with a large business. A graduating student of police foundations, Trevor Anders, 33, is planning on continuing his volunteer work whenever he can, despite finishing his program in December 2014.
Anders has volunteered for a large variety of organizations and events, including orientations for the college, even the latest winter 2015 event, the Debra Dynes Family House, and the International Police Hockey Tournament.
Though he loves the work and challenges that volunteering affords him, especially the positive remarks received from those who look at his resumé, he values most the friendships he’s acquired from networking at events. He believes that these relationships helped to enhance his college experience immensely.
“I’ve met so many people that I never would have normally met,” said Anders.
Anders’ volunteering is the kind that potential employers love. He estimates that he has dedicated anywhere from 150 to 200 hours per semester to volunteering, showing employers that he’s not just looking for a job in order to make money, but to genuinely help others.
Despite giving such a large amount of time to helping out, Anders found that most days went by quickly and that he wasn’t standing around watching the clock. Though some days the amount of time he put into volunteering did stress him out, he learned to pace himself and enjoy it.
“It’s not always about giving all your time. Just do what you can,” said Anders.
Another student of e-business supply chain management, Douglas Cuzner, has kept his volunteer work mainly in-house at the college, but has nonetheless gathered a strong list of accomplishments. He serves on the bartending advisory committee as well as the committee for his current program.
Cuzner, 23, has been working the last few months to prepare his program’s meet-and-greet networking event, which happened on Jan. 26. He put a lot of time into ensuring the mixer was of high quality as it was a chance for his classmates to meet potential employers.
Cuzner doesn’t volunteer just for the bragging rights because he is of the opinion that volunteering needs to be done for the right reasons. In the case of his upcoming networking event, he wants to showcase the talent that his classmates are capable of.
“I really believe our program has a lot to offer the workforce,” said Cuzner.
It’s not always rewarding for some though, as Cuzner cites trouble in the past having an entire team of volunteers stay committed. Understandably, some students may have to allot what precious free time they have to working, where they’re rewarded with pay.
“For some people it’s hard to stick to commitments already made when there’s little incentive for it,” said Cuzner.
Of course, as students enter the final year of their program it often becomes more essential for them to focus on graduating. Such is the case for Stacey Kelly, a student in the last semester of her diploma for business administration with a major in marketing.
Kelly, 30, has helped out extensively with student orientations the last three years. As a student leader she would guide new students around the college and help them with registration before she started on as a senior leader.
She also participated in the alternative spring break last year in the Dominican Republic, teaching English to students. She plans to continue this work this year on the trip to Nicaragua.
Her experience only required a few hours a month of her time but she gained so much more out of it than working, between the people that she met and the networking opportunities.
“I know it’s not a paid position but the return is so much better,” said Kelly.