Last spring, I spent my spring break in the mountains of West Virginia learning about coal mining and its effects on the environment. I built a small deck, dug holes, and spent my days talking to coal miners who vividly remember a bustling time. When I was there, though the words of our conversations were interrupted by the erupting dynamite on the mountain near us and the construction trucks doing away with what was left with nature, I remember starring, awe struck out into nothingness. I came back and promised myself that I would enact whatever change I could, and for me that was sharing poetry I had written on the trip. It was sharing the stories I heard, keeping my green bracelet on, and making a promise to protect mother earth.
It has been a year since I applied for the service immersion trip and I found myself in the same meeting again, hearing our campus minister describe each trip in detail. I fell in love, well actually the love I have for adventure and service was just reignited. I had long ago resigned myself to not going on another trip simply because of funds and because I was determined to make my senior year a “normal” senior year. Yet the call to be a woman for and with others was a strong call. I had a hard time ignoring the nagging feeling I left the meeting with; I had the ability to do something and now was my chance. I hopped on my computer and filled out the application and figured I would let fate figure out the rest. However, this bug caught me strong, and I was under the naïve impression that I could, in fact, change the world.
I found myself on the Peace Corps. website looking at the application. I found myself on the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. website looking up information on how to apply. When I was sophomore in college I went home and told my parents that I think I may want to do a year of service, or maybe two years depending but I wanted to do something that I knew I could give back. I learned from my time at Rockhurst that in order to get something out of an experience, you have to dive in head first. All the trips I have been on and all the service I have done isn’t because the locals couldn’t. We did it because we were immersing ourselves into a lifestyle that was completely different from our own. We were learning to live another life and I fell in love with that.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t fill out some of the applications and waited until the high subsided to see if it was something I still want to do. Now, a week removed from the drug-like event, I see clearly that I still want to do something. I want to have a positive impact in this world. Perhaps I’ll never write a New York Time’s Best Seller, or usurp Ellen in order to make people endlessly happy for fun, but I know now what I can do.