November 16, 2012
Editor thankful for years at SUWarning: this is going to get a little bit sappy.
Amidst the chaos of figuring out what you're going to be doing for the rest of your life, senior year is full of moments when you stop, look around and realize that this is the last time you'll be doing this. It's the last time you'll be choosing fall classes, the last time you move into your residence hall and the last time you celebrate the holidays as an undergraduate. For some, these moments are elating. For others, it's an all too real reminder about the ticking clock counting down until it's time to enter the "real world."
Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner was the last one I will have as a Crusader. As anyone who knows me can attest to, I'm not one of the seniors who looks at my last significant moments and weep at the mere thought of the big end they symbolize. This isn't any different. I am in the firm belief that these moments are definitely something to treasure, and not in a depressing way. Yes, they are the last times we'll be doing these things, but why does that have to be such a bad thing?
Sitting at that Thanksgiving table with my friends, I was on cloud nine. I was getting to celebrate my favorite holiday, twice, with my two families. I would sorely miss them come the next Thanksgiving, when we were all in our own homes with our families, but I would have the memory of the Thanksgivings I shared with them in the past. That's what they're for.
We're growing up, yes growing older, and with that comes a lot of goodbyes. Learning to handle that gracefully is a talent that comes with growing up. I'm going to say there isn't some sadness involved, of course we're sad. We've lived here for about four years now; we have a family, friends and great memories here. But the best part of all that is we've spent these years preparing for the "after," whatever that entails. We shouldn't be spending the time we have here looking over our shoulder at the calendar and bemoaning the fact that in several months, we'll be crossing the stage in a huge gown and saying goodbye. We should be enjoying the time while we have it; we should love it with the knowledge that this is it; this is our time to really dig our heels in and make it count.
So seniors, next time you have a moment when you realize that time is flying by and panic at the thought of a giant countdown looming over your shoulder, don't. Denial isn't your friend but neither is hysteria. Just take a deep breath and remember-- we still have time. Enough time that we can have fun and use the time left wisely. Don't waste it worrying about it.
Volunteerism crucial in lives of studentsFrom what I've heard, it's a bit of an East Coast high school tradition to require community service hours to graduate. While this was not the case for my suburban Missouri public school, community service was still an unbelievably large part of my high school experience. I graduated in 2011 with more than 600 volunteer hours from those four years, most of which came from my sophomore to senior years.
Volunteerism became such a part of my identity that I have continued to serve here at Susquehanna. This year, however, it's not just attending events when my schedule allows and volunteering to help teach girls in Sunbury the basics of softball on Saturday mornings. Sure, I'm doing those as well, but I am now counting hours towards an AmeriCorps program.
Most people have heard of the Peace Corps, but not as many are aware of Ameri-Corps. Essentially, it's a far-reaching domestic version of the Peace Corps. The specific program that I'm involved with from August of 2012 to August of 2013 is Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania (SISPA). While SISPA has a variety of hour requirements that will result in a different educational award (money to help pay for our high tuition), I chose to complete 300 hours over the next year.
My hours will be completed through Girls On the Run (GOTR) of Susquehanna Valley, a program that helps educate elementary and middle school girls on positive body image, how to stop bullying, etc., by creatively incorporating running.
I'm an athlete. This means that, on normal occasions, running is a form of punishment, or a gross necessity. But as a GOTR coach, on Mondays and Wednesdays for two hours, running is something to be enjoyed. I get to run with fourth graders who tell me about recess, about their Halloween costume and the reason they do or do not like their teacher on any given day.
Sure, I'm earning hours while I'm with these girls. But by volunteering with GOTR, I've also had my entire outlook on running changed by eight year old girls.
See, what's important here is that volunteering isn't just something you should have done in high school because you wanted to get your diploma. While that may be a way to inspire the borderline un-inspirable individuals that are often in public high schools, volunteering is really a way of life.
It's the ability to give your time to help others and, in rare cases like the situation I'm currently in with SISPA, you can even get a reward other than that warm feeling I get in my stomach after completing hours with any variety of organization.
So consider joining the AmeriCorps or Peace Corps after you graduate. Volunteering is such a rewarding activity that everyone should experience it throughout their lives. You should experience it without a deadline, without it being a requirement to get out of the hellhole that is high school.
And, not to brag, but it's only mid-November and I am almost halfway done with my commitment to SISPA. The least you can do is come to the GOTR 5K race on Nov. 17 to cheer on my girls.
Trust me, it pays off. Big time.
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