Volunteer Service a Post-Graduate Option
Ed Nuñez, BA’18 spent his first year out of college volunteering with Chicago’s Amate House
The question weighs heavily on the minds of many a weary undergrad.
“What are you doing after graduation?”
A job. An internship. Graduate school. As many students explore their options for life after college, Creighton University’s Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ) is encouraging some to consider post-graduate volunteer service.
“I know that a number of students have had really profound experiences of service,” says Jeff Peak, BA’08, MA’11, MA’19, assistant director of the SCSJ. “And for some, the next right step for them after graduation is to deepen that service experience through a long-term volunteer program where they are able to work for justice in this intentional and meaningful way.
“It not only gives them incredible experience that informs the rest of their life, but it also gives them an opportunity to, in a unique way, live out the Jesuit values that have been so meaningful for them here at Creighton.”
Ed Nuñez, BA’18, graduate assistant with the SCSJ, spent his first year out of college volunteering with Chicago’s Amate House, a nonprofit that emphasizes spiritual development through service. During his time with the program, Nuñez served in a campus ministry and student support role at Loyola University Chicago’s Arrupe College, while also living with 10 other volunteers in a former convent.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do right after graduation, and I think a year of post-graduate service was a way to work full time, live in community and get some skills that are going to be transferrable to any sort of job,” says Nuñez, who is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry at Creighton. “I recommend it because you learn about yourself and people and the world around you.”
Peak says online resources, such as the Catholic Volunteer Network website, allow students to browse open volunteer opportunities. More information and a helpful FAQ are also available on the SCSJ website. He encourages interested students to ask themselves questions about the type of volunteer experience they want: Do I want to work domestically or internationally? Do I want to live by myself or in a community of other volunteers?
Using the convalescence of St. Ignatius of Loyola as a model, Peak advises students to pay attention to their daydreams. Intuition, he says, can often be a powerful tool in discerning what type of service work is right for you.