Due to my brothers and sisters in Alpha Phi Omega (Service Fraternity), I’ve highly associated volunteering with one of the most fun experiences you can do in college. Some of my best memories in college have been playing with puppies while volunteering at the ASPCA and scaring kids (politely of course) at the annual HallowZOOeen festival. But it’s also one of the most important things you can do in college.
A great tennis player, Arthur Ashe, once said, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” This has been my favorite quote for a while now, but it wasn’t until about a year ago while volunteering for a psychology assignment that I truly felt what it meant.
After learning that a local alternative high school known didn’t have a science teacher, I knew it was my opportunity to make a difference. I gathered up supplies to replicate demos I had seen in my Mechanical Engineering classes and headed out. Expecting to inspire rooms full of students and become the next Bill Nye The Science Guy (BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL!), I was somewhat disappointed to see only two students in the room I was assigned to. But I still did the demos cheerfully and got some interaction. After my hour of volunteering, I left the room feeling a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to inspire people or make a difference. But before I left the school, a teacher ran to catch me and said this: “I’m not sure if you knew, but one of the students you were talking to just lost his brother to a shooting three weeks ago. He hasn’t participated in class or hardly even talked to us until you came into class today. Thank you.”
I can’t promise that all of your volunteer experiences will be like the one I just described. But I can promise that you meant the world to someone just for showing up. From what you learn in your classes here at TU, you can make a heck of a living. But what TU also encourages you to do is to give back and make a difference.