Op-Ed by Lauren Revay
Since high school, I have had a deep zeal for serving others. This love of service has continued to be something close to my heart and only grown while in college. Over the past three years, I have been involved in service in numerous ways on and off-campus. This year, I am a part of Cardinal Service Corps which is the group of students who lead weekly service sites and major service events on campus.
My service site this year is at Beacon House, which I had never been to before taking over as a leader for the site. I had heard it was an opportunity to provide one-on-one tutoring for children at an after-school program, having no idea how much more this program is than simply tutoring children. A typical day of volunteering involves going into a classroom and assisting the teacher in any way that he or she needs. We get to play with the kids, eat a meal with them, help them with their homework when needed, and do so much more.
What I did not realize was how many people I would be serving in my role as the service site leader for Beacon House. I not only get to serve the kids, but also the teachers, the other volunteers, and anyone else who I meet. I am amazed by the people who come to serve with the Beacon House community and I am blown away by their deep love for these kids and the community. While I am the service leader, I often feel like a student with how much I am being taught during my time at Beacon House. I am reminded how to encounter and embrace those around me as I strive to take that experience back with me to my everyday experiences.
While it is not easy to serve others, it has brought great joy to my life that I had never known before. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while serving others is that it is in giving myself that I can find myself, and that changes everything. It has changed the way I view my role in the world from being one of self-satisfaction to understanding that I will never be satisfied except by giving of myself to others.
I have no doubt that you can find this joy too in giving of yourselves too, in big and small ways. Take advantage of the Campus Ministry weekly service opportunities to step outside yourself and experience something new. Another way to serve others is to simply be present with those around you whether it be your roommate, classmate or someone you walk by every day. Offering a listening ear, and simple acts like throwing a frisbee with someone can make a real difference in both your life and the others you encounter.
At this point in the semester, it can seem like one does not have time to serve others, this does not need to be for a long amount of time at all, but even five minutes of asking someone how they are doing can make a big difference. It is through these small actions that can lead one to experience true joy.