Volunteering Has Changed Who I Am So Much That It Caused Me To Rethink My Entire Future

Volunteering Has Changed Who I Am So Much That It Caused Me To Rethink My Entire Future

Marquette's biggest day of service last weekend forced me to evaluate what I really want to do with my life.
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Going into college last August, I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to major in English, write a lot of essays, and become an editor for some random publisher. That is, until I discovered Marquette's Center for Community Service.

I knew that I wanted to be involved in lots of things on campus, since I did absolutely nothing of the sort in high school. So, at my school's organization fest, I wrote my email down left and right to any and all student orgs that seemed even a little interesting to me.

I ended up joining groups that I was super passionate about, like Marquette Empowerment, a feminist club on campus that has introduced me to a ton of new friends, and The Odyssey, which obviously has taken me to a place I never even knew I could be at as a freshman.

Two organizations that I had joined, Midnight Run and Marquette Volunteer Corps, were both service groups who were involved in Milwaukee and the improvement of the community around us. Living in Milwaukee my entire life, I had already seen firsthand the social issues that plague the city, from police brutality to a disturbingly high homicide rate to segregation.

My weekly visits to both Redeemer Lutheran Church downtown and the Boys and Girls Club at an inner-city elementary school have changed my life for the better, mostly because they helped shine a light on what I truly wanted to do after college: make a difference.

Fittingly so, Marquette's slogan "Be the Difference" has been proven to me through my involvement in community service these past eight months. I ended up changing my major to Social Welfare and Justice last month and I am beyond excited to finally start taking classes next semester that I truly care about.

Even though writing is still one of my passions, (hello, it's what I'm doing right now) I knew deep in my heart that it isn't going to provide me with a career that I actually enjoy waking up and going to each morning.

I'm still not sure specifically what I want to do after graduation, but it's going to be okay. My parents always told me that they would support me in any decision I made, as long as I was happy doing it and now I am sure of that.

I firmly believe that everyone should complete some form of volunteering in their life. Whether it's participating in a charity walk once a year, donating clothes and food to children in need during the holidays, or actively engaging with those less fortunate than us every week.

I was an open-minded person before joining the service groups I'm a part of. But, especially in today's world, everyone needs to experience that compassion and understanding with others to receive a better concept of the planet that we live in and the many other people that inhabit it with us.

Cover Image Credit: Marquette Hunger Clean Up Instagram

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You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Wear The Wedding Dress

You had him in high school, but I get him for the rest of my life.
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High school seems like the best time of your life when you are in it. You think that all of your friends will be with you until the end, and that you will end up with whoever you are dating your senior year. For very few, that might just be the case. For all others, that is far from true.

You thought that you would marry your boyfriend and you thought that everything would work out how you had always imagined. I don't blame you though. He's great. You wanted everything with him, but you were just not right for him.

I wish I could say that I am sorry it didn't work out for you, but I can't. I can't because he is mine now, and I get to cherish him forever. You didn't do that right, and you were not meant to be together. You will find someone too, but I am happy that you were not the one for him.

Sometimes I have issues with jealousy, and I hate that you got all of the high school stuff with him. You got to go to games and support him. It kills me that I couldn't be there for him because I know I would have actually been there wholeheartedly. I would have done it out of love, not as a popularity appearance.

I hate that you got to go to all of the school dances with him. He got to see you all dressed up and probably told you how great you looked. I'm sure you did look great. Prom dresses were always fun to pick out and so colorful. It was exciting to match colors with your date. I am sure you had fun choosing his matching tux to your dress.

I find myself getting jealous, but then I stop. I am getting to match his tux with our wedding colors. I got to go dress shopping in a sea of white, and he doesn't get to know one detail about that dress yet. He will get to see me walk down the aisle and then every day forever. I get to love him forever.

I try to not get jealous of all of the things you got with him because it is all in the past. You had your time, and now I get the wedding. You got to dress up in high school, but I get to dress up for my wedding with him. He may have put a corsage on your wrist, but he will be putting the wedding ring on my finger.

Cover Image Credit: Jessy Scott

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To Whomever It May Concern; It's Time To Forgive Yourself

Personal growth is cultivated through successes and mistakes, beating yourself up over the latter is counterproductive to progress.

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We've reached that point in time again where it seems that the general population in its entirety has recommitted to improving themselves with the start of a new year. While it's refreshing to have a renewed determination to eat better, be kinder, or achieve the goals you had attempted at last year, the beginning of a new year can also prove to be a source of anxiety. As many sit down to put their goals on paper in hopes of making them more attainable, it's all too easy to be bombarded by all of the reasons that ones' ambitions are beyond what that person is capable of.

Memories of past short-comings and words of self-deprecation uttered in moments of perceived failure are compounded by a general fear of the unknown for what the future holds. In my own experience, I've come to understand that the limits we place on our capacity for achievement, happiness, and growth are the direct results of not forgiving ourselves. So many goals are set with the intent to receive some form of external validation to indicate that the world has forgiven our flaws and deemed us worthy, but if we can't forgive ourselves and see our own worth, then how can we possibly expect anyone else to?

In the safety and comfort of your own imagination where you are free to envision your best self, living the life you have always hoped for, the only person that can condemn those ideas for being unrealistic is you. When we allow that sardonic voice from the back of our minds to inhibit our dreams, we permit that voice to embed itself in our conscious thoughts and put trust in our inadequacies rather than our capabilities.

For those who have yet to forgive themselves of their own trespasses, failures, and mistakes; the next time you have the thought to better yourself or your life and find it being attacked by memories of deficiency, do not concede to those assailants with the belief that you are incapable of becoming and achieving anything you choose. Instead of willing away those thoughts that remind us of what we are trying to grow from, face them, face your old self with forgiveness, and decide how you're going to become someone better because of who you were.

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