I’ve always been dedicated to serving others. It’s one of my greatest passions. However, I will be the first to admit that volunteering has never a consistent part of my life. I was similar to the average student who would volunteer for the specific amount of hours to fulfill an obligation. Of course, I enjoyed serving others and did my very best to complete the task I was given, but I never took the initiative to do more than just the minimum. Once I had completed the required hours, I would return to my normal, everyday life.
Despite this, at the encouragement of my friends, I joined Weekly Service, a service program which sends SJU students to a site every week to volunteer and build relationships with the people they are serving. I chose to volunteer with the conversation group at Cultural Exchange Center, also known as the ELS (English as a Second Language) Center. As a volunteer, I hang out and chat with the international students about their days or pop culture.
Participating in Weekly Service, specifically on Mondays, had an unknown benefit of helping me to start my week off right. When I volunteer on Monday, I begin the week with the mindset of serving others rather than myself. Instead of only worrying and focusing on what’s going on in my upcoming week, I start by listening to and serving others.With this perspective, my small difficulties seem insignificant when I consider how lucky I am to have so much and what others may be dealing with. This small amount of time you give to another person makes a massive difference in their week or even life, and in turn, affects yours.
This complete change in my mindset is the best way to start my week. It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to handle whatever comes my way. There’s a feeling of gratitude for what I have and concern for those around me that underlies the rest of the week. This feeling can be best understood by those who have made service a regular part of their life. With that, I highly recommend that you all consider joining Weekly Service, or any service organization, and begin to serve others and experience the benefits of volunteering.