I'll Gladly Spread Myself Thin In The Name Of Community Service

I'll Gladly Spread Myself Thin In The Name Of Community Service

The real reason it's important to do community service in college.
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I sigh as I go through the mental checklist of planning four events in three weeks—organizing multiple vouchers to purchase supplies, signing up collaborating organizations and various performance groups, confirming room bookings and equipment setup, ordering food to be catered, and arranging keynote speeches. The strain of multiple deadlines for the March 2 College Event for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), the Spring Carnival event for Stony Brook DCI, and the UNICEF Unity Talent Show is starting to wear me thin, and I catch myself losing sleep as I try desperately to meet everyone’s expectations.

I sigh again as I realize that maybe, this time I have bitten off more than I can chew. Is all this stress even worth it?

Anyone who has been an e-board member for an undergraduate student organization here at Stony Brook knows the struggle of trying to expand the influence of their organization on a campus widely accredited to academic excellence year-round. A common theme of “I have midterms tonight, sorry, I can’t make it to the event” pervades throughout the spring semester from midway through February, and group collaborations constantly being rescheduled due to the rigor of our academic curriculum is just one of the many challenges that e-board members have to face, alongside balancing our GPAs and maintaining some semblance of a social life.

In my case, being on e-board for three organizations (Treasurer of SB UNICEF Campus Initiative, VP of Community Service for NSCS, and Fundraising Chair for the newly-founded National Society of Leadership and Success-NSLS) comes with a lot of meetings and tasks to complete simultaneously. Countless hours are devoted towards furthering the goals of these various organizations, alongside attempting to balance my upper division biology classes.

In many cases, the burden of these various endeavors is the source of constant tension between myself and my family, as I explain to mom yet again that I have another e-board meeting or event tonight and I’ll be home late.

I worry sometimes that in my efforts to make my mark as an e-board member of the Stony Brook community, I’m drifting away from the only constant I’ve ever known. I worry that every opportunity I lose to interact with my younger siblings is one that I will never get back and that they will grow up without me there to guide them despite living under the same roof as them.

But back to the matter at hand—what’s it all for?

It’s for the people who are afflicted with a disease that UNICEF helps to provide relief for across the globe. It’s for the families that are besieged by poverty and famine that relief organizations such as DCI and Public Health Brigades help to supply with vital funds and materials to help. It’s for the children whose parents are suffering from cancer that Camp Kesem puts its efforts towards during their summer programs.

It’s for the homeless who need them the most that the Muslim Student Organization (MSA) organizes care packages of food, water, and hygienic supplies on their Midnight Run each semester. The value of community service is not the pursuit of self-gratification—rather, it is the understanding that we have the power to make a positive impact in the lives of those who need it.

As I busy myself with the work, I smile. Despite all the stress, it’s absolutely worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Adeel Azim

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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I Do Not Miss FFA, But Not For Why You Might Suspect

Trust me, I loved my years wearing the blue jacket, but now that I am in college, I find myself not missing the organization.

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I spent my high school years like many other students from around the country- proudly wearing a blue corduroy jacket, competing in events, and meeting great people from all over California. It was an incredible four years, filled with every emotion known to man. I truly loved the satisfying sound of the metal teeth coming together when I would zip my jacket up at some ungodly time of the morning. I enjoyed getting to chant my region's motto at a state convention. Most importantly, I can not express the pride I felt when I walked across the stage as my name was called for my American Degree. Despite how great of a time I had in the FFA, I really do not miss it. College has done a fine job taking over what the FFA did in my life in the past.

At Kansas State University, most EVERYONE who is in the College of Agriculture was in the FFA. It is a common ice breaker, leading to some incredible friendships. When you and all your friends are sophomores, you take a road trip the Indianapolis to get your American Degree with all your new friends! Kansas State University has the family vibe that the FFA had since you all have the same bond. Belonging to this organization that made a better person four years later will always hold a place in your heart. From a sea of blue to an ocean of purple, there is really no difference.

At Kansas State University's College of Agriculture, you get to experience all different forms of agriculture hands on. I have taken agronomy, economics, animal science, communications and so many other types of agriculture courses. That is not even the extent of the possibilities of those in the College of Agriculture. I have gotten to expand my horizons and learn about all the different aspects that make up our incredible industry. Just as the CDEs teach us all different career applicable skills, these different classes also teach us the skills we will need in our workplaces. It is the goal of the university to teach us what we will need to know once we get our "big-kid jobs". FFA also used a similar "hands-on approach" that K-State uses. You are never bored, and you never stop learning about the wonderful world of agriculture.

Both FFA and college promote getting jobs. For many majors, an internship is not just suggested but is required for graduation. Kansas State University and other universities know the importance of getting real-world experiences to help you in your studies. It gives learning a more personal connection. FFA had placement awards and recognitions given to students to help incentivize people to get jobs in the agriculture industry. This helps get the next generation hooked on working and agriculture. Helping kids and young adults feel satisfied and fulfilled in their industry was what FFA started and college has continued.

Finally, in the FFA, you get to see friends get big awards and leadership positions. This is definitely exciting and often makes you very proud. College is the same way. It is exciting to see your friend's name on the semester's honor list, get to take exciting study abroad trips, and lock in incredible internships or jobs. You feel that same level of pride and excitement for them as their hard work pays off. Usually, these successes can be traced back to the skills, morals, and work ethic developed in the FFA.

So when people ask me if I miss FFA, I can easily say no. Not because my time was miserable and I hated it, but because really my time with the organization is not over.

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