Now that I’m in my fourth week of my final semester of college (which is something I can’t even begin to wrap my head around), I’m starting to look back on my almost four years of higher education with a kind of nostalgia that’s usually reserved for people much older than I, and who usually have a greater reason to be nostalgic. But I’m also examining my time here carefully to determine where I feel I succeeded, and where I know I came short. There’s not much that I regret about my time here, fortunately, but there are definitely paths I wish I’d pursued at St. Mary’s. I specifically say “at St. Mary’s” because I’m a transfer student which, at the time of my transfer, put me in kind of a unique position: I had the ability effectively to begin college again.
Since I knew I was transferring around the middle of my first semester I had already made close friends and had gotten involved in a few activities around my old campus. But when I first began college I figured that I’d have more time, and I was having a hard time adjusting to college life, so I procrastinated joining clubs or other groups. Then, I transferred to St. Mary’s and I had the opportunity to start fresh and become as active in campus life as I wanted, and I wanted to become active.
Personally, I’m pleased with what I’ve done here. I’m graduating a semester early, of which I’m proud, and I still feel like I’ve gotten involved in, or at least sampled, a nice variety of clubs and organizations.
But there’s one thing I wish I’d done more, and though it’s kind of a trite topic, if it weren’t so important to me I promise I wouldn’t write about it: I honestly wish I’d been able to devote more of my time to volunteering, both on and off campus.
I started tutoring adult GED students at Great Mills High School on Wednesday nights the first semester of my sophomore year here and I quickly realized the impact that I could make if I exerted even a little effort. Two hours a week I tried to help adults get their high-school equivalency; the students had myriad reasons for striving for their GED but their motivations, while often inspiring and humbling, were irrelevant to me. All I knew were the subjects with which they were having trouble and any information they felt they wanted me to know. It’s rewarding to watch a student who’s struggling with ratios or fractions finally understand their function and purpose. I hope I made a small difference.
I say this because I derived satisfaction from my volunteering work, but I wish I’d been able to volunteer more frequently. It’s easy to get caught up in school work (which is admittedly very important, professors who are reading this), or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (which is very, very important, as I will freely confess), or your precious few hours of free time (and there is nothing more important than free time). But it’s also so easy to volunteer, especially at St. Mary’s. There are countless organizations on campus solely devoted to volunteer work, from For Goodness Sake to Habitat for Humanity to Circle K to Rotaract Club. Last year, The Point News spotlighted a club called Knits for the Needy, which is exactly what it sounds: they knit or crochet for those in need. There’s a place for all talents to be of service.
I won’t be a geezer and grouchily grumble how our generation is selfishly attached to the small glowing screens of our computers and cell phones and the whositwhatsits the kids are using these days, because I genuinely don’t believe that to be true. I know far too many wonderful, selfless, involved students to even begin to justify that silly and unfounded claim. All I believe is that it’s so simple to volunteer, and that everyone, everywhere is looking for some kind of help. If you have anything to offer, please try it and see if it fits with you. And anyway, TLC always has reruns of Honey Boo Boo.