Every Tuesday evening, I volunteer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. My experiences volunteering at the hospital have led me to believe that everybody should partake in some volunteering, regardless of how busy their schedule is. In my opinion, it is very important to give back to the community that gives so much to you. There are so many people who put so much time and effort into everything which allows our lives to be the way they are. Giving back and helping some of those people will always leave you feeling good. Whether it is at the library, a camp, a hospital, or your local EMS, help is always appreciated.
I remember when I first started volunteering at Memorial-Sloan I used to work the coffee cart. Basically, I would make coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and offer/serve it to patients in the waiting areas. While doing so I would also strike up a conversation with the patients. Even such a small act was really appreciated by the patients. A lot of the patients or their family members would have been sitting in the waiting area for hours and that one conversation would make their time at the hospital a little less stressful. This really humbled me. It reminds me that there are people going through much bigger issues than I am. Any homework stresses and gossip going around school seems so petty and insignificant when I am around patients struggling to battle cancer. Life is unfair; some of the most innocent people are hit with the most cruel diseases and anything can change at any time. This has given me a much greater appreciation for my life. I am lucky enough to be living a healthy life in a nice and clean city with wonderful and healthy friends and family. And I'm going to a great college next year.
Eventually I started to volunteer in the Chemo Floor where I would help restock supplies and clean chemo rooms after a patient left as well as bringing patients in from the waiting area. Through the coffee cart and chemo room volunteering I have learned a lot. Ever since I was five years old, I have always dreamed of becoming a doctor. Volunteering at the hospital helps teach me a lot. I learn a lot about how to talk to a patient, patient care, and the day to day tasks in a hospital. I have also met a lot of people, built a lot of connections and have been exposed to many more opportunities I was not exposed to before because of my volunteering. Being at the hospital also inspires me because I get to see the miracles doctors work and it reminds me why I want to pursue a career which takes years and years of work to get to.
At the end of the day, it is important to be a good human and make a difference to society. The easiest way to do this is by volunteering. Volunteering will leave you feeling very satisfied and the help is always appreciated. This week, as students around the country are wrapping up finals and heading on to summer break, please be sure to check out some volunteering opportunities in your community. It is a fun, nice, relaxing and extremely helpful use of your time.