There is life beyond the academic community!
Spring Quarter can be an incredibly exciting time – your thesis starts to fall into place, you’ve got the most productive procrastination excuse ever in internship/externship/mentor apps, and it’s finally (finally!) warmer. But it can also be a scary time if (like most people emerging from a graduate program) you’re not totally sure what you want to be doing next year. Looking into those awesome internship, mentor, & externship opportunities is a great place to start, but if you’re feeling daunted or like you want to do some exploring before you commit, looking into volunteer opportunities may be the right choice for you.
Of course, even if you have an awesome sense of what you’d like to be up to next year, you may be feeling (as I did) at this point in the year that your life has been subsumed into the academy/library to the detriment of all things human. As the year winds down (hurtles toward completion?) it might be worth your time to look into volunteer opportunities. It’s incredibly valuable to make connections to organizations you’re passionate about, or alternatively, find out what kinds of work or organizations you don’t like now, as you go into the summer.
But what does this vague “volunteering” thing look like? How do you find the right organization for you, with the right time commitment? Answer: Volunteer Referrals! UCSC at the University of Chicago maintains an up-to-date, well-researched database of volunteer opportunities in Chicago, and they are happy to help match you with the right organization.
And, as always, come talk to your Mentors – about careers, the future, rad volunteer organizations in Chicago, your thesis, or literally anything else.