What do you think of when you hear the word “service”? Do you think of serving the homeless, or collecting cans for a food drive? In my opinion, service is completely subjective. It can be direct or indirect, but every bit of service is helpful. Like most people, I grew up learning the importance of serving others. I would help out at church, and one year my family and I delivered Christmas presents to less fortunate families in the area.
Here at CNU, I am a Bonner Service Scholar and I regularly work with the elderly community – about 10 hours a week. I have learned a lot of skills aside from just the issues surrounding the aging population: time management, how to write a press release and conducting surveys. A lot of people get overwhelmed with the unknown that is attached to “service.” What kind of people will you be working with? Are they sick? Will they think I’m helpful? What if I don’t even make a difference or just get in the way?
It isn’t always easy to set aside the time to give back to the community, so how can you make it easier on yourself? One way is to be a part of something that excites you!
If you love animals, then maybe working with the elderly isn’t for you, but you could try to get involved at the SPCA or another animal shelter. If you love kids or want to have a future in education, then maybe after-school tutoring or a Big Brother/Big Sister program would best suit you.
Service means different things to different people. It may take you a while to figure out what exactly it means to you and how you want to use service to make a difference, but don’t stop trying. Be open to different service opportunities, even when they may not seem to be a perfect match. No matter the experience you will always be learning and growing from your failures and your successes.That is the best way to find your niche – and you will be helping people along the way!