On top of all your other commitments—your hours, your clubs, your jobs—why would you voluntarily give yourself more work? Why should you also take on temporary service? I wondered all of these things when I made my schedule last semester and saw that I had an opportunity to perform service learning. The logical choice seemed to be taking a different section of the class. However, I’d heard so many positive reviews from my friends who’d done service learning that I decided to try it out. I’ve found that service learning is a voluntary time commitment. However, I already find my experience so rewarding, and I’m not even finished with my required hours yet.
In most cases, you get to pick the site that corresponds with your interests and your transportation abilities. Right now, I’m working at a domestic violence women and children’s shelter, and I love the two or three hours every week I spend there. My tasks are simple—I clean, I organize, and I play with children’s groups. However, I get to witness the great work that the shelter does, and it feels wonderful to be a part of that. I know how important service is to the Jesuit way of thought that Loyola holds at its core, but sometimes I need a reminder to realize how important service is and the impact that it makes on others’ lives. My service learning has truly impacted my perspective and my goals. Sometimes, I find myself becoming shortsighted. I get that sometimes it’s okay to have a goal of just getting through the day and making it to tomorrow, but service learning helps me remember my long-term goals, like my desire to make a difference in the work I do after Loyola. Learning in a real world setting also reminds me just how tangible my goals are. I’ve experienced such a renewal through my work.
I know that time becomes rarer and rarer, especially as you get older, but I’ve found service learning very much worth my time. For a few hours a week, I get out of my stressful college environment and find fulfillment in doing concrete work for others. If you get the chance, I highly recommend taking a service learning course. The change of perspective and work for others can make you feel very good at the end of the day. And who knows? You may learn other things about yourself. Reach out to your community and see what happens.