10 Things You Learn As A Drew University Civic Scholar

10 Things You Learn As A Drew University Civic Scholar

“Freely ye have received, freely give”

The Drew University Civic Scholar Program is a scholarship program based on community service, providing students with volunteer opportnities, non-profit internships, and the chance to make a difference both outside of and within the Drew Community. As a third-year Civic Scholar, here are 10 things I have learned while in the program.

1. Positive risk-taking can change your life

Whether you come into college knowing exactly what you want to do or not, the Civic Scholars program will encourage you to think outside the box and take risks. The classes and community service opportunities teach us to look beyond our own lives and explore how our actions affect other people, a practice that continues after graduation, even if we don’t end up working in the non-profit sector.

2. Teachers push you because they care

Amy Sugerman, Amy Kortiz, and other teachers and facilitators involved in the Civic program strive not only for educational growth, but spiritual growth as well. We are in college to find where our passions lie and they are dedicated to helping us on that journey and showing us how our passions can better the lives of others. The path of each Civic Scholar is different, but they are always there to help us along the way.

3. Community service can be fun!

Swimming with children with disabilities, shadowing doctors at an ER, helping people at old folks homes, sorting goods at a food bank, building houses with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans, laughing with friends while harvesting vegetables at Grow-a-Row, interning with Sesame Workshop--all of these activities and more are community service opportunities you have as a Civic Scholar!

4. You just might find your best friends

Spending your first year of college in a living-learning community of your fellow Civic Scholars allows you the opportunity to find people who share your values, dreams, and passions. Even after college, making these meaningful connections can help you with networking. But more importantly, you might find the people who will stick with you through the bad times and the good times for four years and beyond.

5. Everyone can make a difference

Making a difference doesn’t need to be a huge event like passing a law or donating millions of dollars. It can be as simple as being the reason someone smiles today.

6. All people are people

Man, woman, child, elder, LGBTQ+, straight, disabled, able-bodied, black, white, Latinx, Asian, Native, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, immigrant, Pilgrim descendant, Democrat, Republican--when you work with a person, you realize these labels don’t matter. They’re just a person who needs help and you can help them. Especially in these divided times, compassion and empathy can be hard traits to come by. Civic Scholars have them in spades.

7. Community service is not just about your community

Through Drew programs, Civic Scholars have the opportunity to go to Washington D.C., New Orleans, Kentucky, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, England, Ireland, and many other places throughout the U.S. and the world.

8. Change is never hopeless

Many people say Civic Scholars are too idealistic or that striving for change is unrealistic, but we know that passion and teamwork are what make positive changes happen. Change doesn’t happen all at once, but the slow and steady work of Civic Scholars can bring hope in a dark time.

9. Non-profit work is real work

Through Civic Scholars, you learn vital skills about running non-profit events and organizations that make you highly sought after in the non-profit field. Also, through internships and other volunteering opportunities, you just might end up with a job after graduation!

10. It’s more than the money

Sure, the money is nice, but the experience you gain from being a Civic Scholar is worth so much more.

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.


7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.


10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.


13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!


16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!


19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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