Last September, I heard of Abhyasika, a non-profit initiative of IIT Bombay that supplements school students’ academics. I joined as a volunteer subject tutor. I was assigned a twelfth-grade student whom I was supposed to teach Physics.

I was a bit anxious initially, uncertain about how good a job I would be able to do. Being very coherent while speaking is not my forte, so I had reasons to be as such. There were times when I would get irritated when he would not understand something even after my repeated tries. Or when he would not complete his homework.

But I became more thoughtful of my reactions after the initial few weeks. After all, I used to be the same a few years ago. I wondered how my teachers would have felt then. I became calmer and more considerate of his plight.

A few weeks ago, I came to know that he had been accepted at a Dental College in Mumbai. I felt satisfied in the knowledge that I had played a part in getting there. Most of us have things that we are up to all the time. We seldom have time for some social work. I have found this volunteering very helpful for me personally too.

I had been very stressed and demotivated throughout the semester because of my own dismal academic record. I never found reasons to attend my own lectures. They were boring. There was nothing to look up to. On the weekend, however, I looked forward to teaching. No matter what, I made it a point not to miss it.

Now, I am a coordinator at the centre. My responsibility is different from what it was earlier. Now, I manage the whole batch of students and the teachers who come to learn there. Sometimes, they ask me questions which I find silly, like simple translations, division etc.

But I have realised that it is hard work. To explain something as easy as division or multiplication in a way that is understood by a school kid takes a lot of thinking and introspection. And once I was able to do it, that feeling was childishly joyful. 

When I can see that what I did helped somebody, in whatever way, I feel good. I do not need to wait for too long to see a smile on their faces. For all their mischief and goofiness, they make me smile a lot with their silly jokes, seemingly obvious puzzles, the chess games etc.

There are very few places where I can get that satisfaction.

I am glad to be a volunteer.

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12 thoughts on “Why I volunteer and Why I think you should do it too

  1. I agree. Volunteering does something magical for both parties. I had been unemployed for a long time was having a ? Really hard time finding a job any job and had lost my self confidence. My mother suggested i start volunteering. I found this cool therapy riding place and became a volunteer. I was helping disabled kids do something i loved – ride a horse. As i helped them and gave them encouragement my self confidence came back. Now 4 years later i have a great job and i still volunteer and my life is fuller for it. I am so glad you found volunteering it is a beautiful thing. 😊

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  2. My kids started volunteering at a very young age. All 4 have been involved in homeless shelters, teen crises pregnancy centers, cleaning yards for little old ladies, mentoring kids younger than themselves. We did not do it for this reason BUT it opened up school and job opportunities. My 19 year old has connections all over the United States for college and job opportunities. My 17 year old has an administrative position available to her the minute she turns 18. Ours is primarily through our faith but there is many different ways to volunteer through all kinds of venues. Great read.

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  3. Volunteering is a beautiful thing indeed! you sacrifice your time and energy expecting nothing in return, but I feel we gain more than we give. We learn about compassion and to give without expecting, which i feel is a very humane trait to have. At the end of the day, we are in this together and how better to spend your time than to spend it helping fellow humans in need. Teaching is wonderful. The reward is knowing that someone understood something which you taught them, and then seeing them go on to do greater things and be happy for their achievements.

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