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.