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”
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Drew University Civic Scholar Program

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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10 Special Places In Your Hometown You Can't Wait To Revisit When The Semester Is Over

I can't wait to go home!

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Everyone has their favorite local spots that they love in their hometown. These could be famous staples that everyone knows about, or your little getaway when life was hitting you hard growing up. Since being away from home I never understood how important they were to me until I wasn't there. It doesn't matter if you live in Maine or California, everyone has their spot or multiple spots.

Here is a list of 10 places that you will stop at once you get home.

1. Your Favorite Local Restaurant(s)

This restaurant or restaurants always come through whenever you want to eat your favorite food(s). It always made everything to perfection, and nearly every person knows your name in there.

2. Coffee Shop

The place that you always can meet your friends, or a quite place to get work done.

3. High School 

Going back to your local high school is always a positive walk down memory lane to see all your old teachers, and people that affected your life for the better.

4. Friends' Houses 

So many memories are there, and it's always so refreshing to see their faces and talk to people that you have grown up with.

5. Nature Spots 

You know those places that whenever you get to them can make you so much happier and more relaxed? That's what I'm talking about.

6. Walking Around Your Neighborhood 

Walking around your neighborhood is always fun, and you get to see a bunch of familiar faces.

7. Your Bed 

Because what's better than that...

8. Your Local Church 

It is always nice to see your youth group and elders whenever you come back.

9. Grandparents' House

You know when you are going over something good is always waiting behind the door.

10. Top Of A Parking Garage 

The ultimate best view to watch fireworks, sunsets, and sun rises.

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