Students are halfway through the semester, having overcome parking lot woes, established routines and found their places in classes. Plenty have grunted their teeth at the lack of funding and fallen prisoner to the rising gas prices and a host of other impacts – unemployment, budget cuts, and natural disasters – inflicting students and the community.
As the restraint of success and survival tightens, candidates of opportunities must diversify their self-being. Chabot’s service learning class is the elective that weeds the front row, high score, trending industry knowledge and late-to-lecture students and places them in a higher category of learning.
Over the course of the spring semester service learning, SERV 85, students embrace the idea and history of community service. While the requirements of community service have become just as much a controversial issue as the next, the idea and efforts continue to serve student character and community.
Service learning students are required to complete a minimum of 54 hours for two units or 105 hours for three units. Each student selects a community service site of their interest. The class meets once a week to address community service matters and allow students to reflect on their experiences as individuals and active community volunteers.
This semester students have become a part of animal shelters, convalescent homes, YMCAs, food drives, the George Marks Foundation, Reading Partners and a host of other community impacting volunteering.
These students have found the value and reward in being a part of an act that is beyond their personal interest, daily routine and goals. The class also reviews articles and philosopher quotes that influence the community and introduce new concepts.
One example is Rabbi Hillel, who said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I?” Students breakdown statements like that of the rabbi’s and apply them to their life.
SERV 85 student Julia Brusaca understood the rabbi in the sense that one must believe in oneself first. Brusaca also expressed that it didn’t mean to be stuck on the self or have a big ego that prevents people from considering the concerns of others.
“Who am I if I don’t want to step outside of my comfort zone?” Brusaca said. Brusaca’s comfort zone is being a part of three different volunteering experiences that involve the education of young children.
In conclusion of a reflection hour students agreed there is a need to do for the self but also evolve beyond oneself. It takes a certain individual to break routine to involve themselves in someone else’s life. SERV 85 embraces the volunteering need and the folds of experience.
“I feel rewarded … (to) make them laugh and smile at my site,” shared SERV 85 student Kim Endres, who works with the sometimes forgotten elderly.
In a study rating levels of happiness it was found that there is a baseline to happiness. Life events will either put an individual under or over his baseline. A good experience will cause one’s happiness to rise while a bad experience will obviously cause one’s happiness to decline.
However in both scenarios individuals return to their baselines. In conclusion of the study the purposeful experience of volunteering raised the happiness baseline itself.
SERV 85 experience redefines inabilities, abilities to succeed and the gesture to be a part of the success of another. These are the qualities that separate one bachelor from another. Universities and employers are looking for differentiated factors in selecting a worthy candidate.
As the semester comes to a close, consider an experience that will impact you, your community and your future.