There is perhaps no more exciting time in a Northeastern student’s life than when they receive an offer for a co-op position. Co-op is an incredible program that gives students invaluable real-world work experience. In addition to the work experience, most co-ops also often come with a decent salary. The feeling that accompanies that is what I have heard some people affectionately refer to as “co-op rich.” I can’t deny that this is a nice feeling. It helps me feel a little better when I treat myself to a slightly nicer dinner or buy myself some new product that I’ve been eyeing. It also provides the means to start saving, or to open up a Roth IRA and start investing for retirement.

Co-op also gives one more opportunity that may often be looked over: It provides the means for students to start giving and, from an earlier-than-normal point in life, experience the joys and nuances of philanthropy. Students can direct their donations to help benefit causes that they are aware of and have had a personal impact on their lives. Students can also give socially. They can form giving circles — getting together with their peers to discuss their personal values and decide upon a cause together in order for their gifts to have the greatest impact.

How or how much you give at this point in your life is not paramount. The most important thing is to just give. Habits can take a long time to form, but if students use the opportunity that co-op provides to start giving, then that can change their lives — and the world — forever.

– Ross Beroff is a junior finance and political science major. He was an editorial columnist at The Huntington News between January and December 2015.