Hello, vertical climbers. My golden advice for this post, as you seek to gain the experiences and professional connections that will impel you forward is this:
Understand the 'currency' of the place that you are volunteering in: sometimes this is called "social currency". In other words, what is valued above all else, where you work? That value will be the launchpad of collaboration / support that you need from your supervisors, colleagues, in order to go forward. In other words, "join the club". I confess that the social currency may indeed be counter-intuitive to you: you may be a social butterfly volunteering in a place where the currency is minimal socializing and an expectancy of copious intellectual output. Or it may the reverse for you.
As long as the currency is not immoral or unethical you have no excuse for getting out of your comfort zone and joining the club. Humans are social beings, and as it is said, "communication is the key" to success.
I have a colleague who works at a campus where being personable is valued above work excellence. This colleague transferred from another campus where the environment was not dysfunctional, where there was an equilibrium of both social communication and plain hard work. Seeing herself at odds with her new surroundings, my colleague has become understandably chagrined. I encouraged her that if she embraced the emphasis on interpersonal interactions where she is now at (my friend would prefer to sit in her office away from the world the whole day), she would be better able to fulfill her mission at this new post. You see, you will not fully impress your supervisor, or endear yourself to your peers, if you seem like only a capable foreigner to them.
I know this may not be easy but if you want to volunteer intelligently, then living outside the box is a must. Til next post, wishing you increased success in 2017.