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.