by April Nwatah
Can you believe that this semester is coming to an end?! Spring semester always seems to fly faster than fall, and every semester that brings me closer to graduation (Spring 2012) seems to fly faster than any other. It was a surprise to look at my calendar the other day and realize that my last day of volunteering was upon me. Today was my last day volunteering with Salt and Light Ministries and I’m generally not too good with endings. It makes me sad to think that I may never see certain people again. I’ve gotten used to seeing the same kids and families every Monday. It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m finished…
I guess it’s a good thing that I have plans to keep working in the community! (=
As a student living on campus, it’s generally pretty easy to get caught up in what I like to call “the campus bubble.” In previous semesters at the university I found myself not leaving campus for months at a time. During such periods, I would tend to get quite antsy and bored with my surroundings. On the other hand, the semesters that I’ve spent volunteering have brought me a lot of joy. Every time I can step off campus and interact with others I feel refreshed afterwards. Last school year I volunteered at the Refugee Center every Saturday mornings helping kids with their homework and taking them on local field trips. A lot of my experiences in the community have overlapped as I’ve run in to some of the same people at the Refugee Center, at Salt and Light, and all over the Champaign-Urbana community! Some of my most memorable experiences this semester have been running into people from the community at the supermarket, at the mall, etc. With the relationships that I’ve built in the community, it makes me feel like I’m more than just a student in this town.
As for the future, I am spending the summer in Honduras volunteering with an HIV/AIDS facility. I look forward to using the various skills (Spanish skills, interpersonal skills, etc) that I’ve sharpened in this class while I’m in Honduras. As for next fall, I haven’t quite decided where I’ll volunteer next. But with this class and the connections that I’ve made, I’m excited about all of my possibilities!
Until next time!!