I found my passions through getting involved…. What R U Waiting for?

By: Michelle Pasko

svcspringWhen I first came to Rutgers, I was so eager to get involved in clubs and organizations, but couldn’t help feeling like a little fish in a giant, 4-campus-wide pond. I knew what many of the organizations stood for, but couldn’t help but wonder—how will I leave my own mark?

In getting involved, I found I grew to be the kind of student leader I looked up to as a wide-eyed new student. I went from sitting in the general member seat, to standing in front of a room of inspirational individuals; from finding a mentor, to being one. In my time at Rutgers, I’ve hosted my own service days for organizations and planned large-scale service events, helped hundreds of students navigate their way through Basic Composition and Expository Writing, and soon, I’ll be teaching the same Exploring Education seminar I took as a first-year student.

IMG_2070My involvements have changed my perspective on what it means to be a leader, and challenged my perceptions on students and education. Being a Student Leader is so much more than a label on a resume or twitter bio—it’s a full time commitment, a promise to yourself and to all those around you. As with all things, though, the dedication is worth the struggle. I know that one day, when I am leading my own classroom; I will be prepared with the skills I learned within Rutgers Student Life. I feel more than ready to stand my ground and command a class, analyze situations with keen problem solving skills, and hope to inspire others the way so many have inspired me.

Doing service and working amongst passionate individuals with common goals pushed me to put my best foot forward at all times. I realized that the most selfless actions—standing on my feet for 30 hours for Dance Marathon or spending extra time in an organization’s office to ensure work gets done—brought me the most happiness and peace. Coming to Rutgers, I considered myself a shy and quiet individual, but when I leave, I will consider myself exuberant and capable of anything I put my mind to. None of this would be possible if I hadn’t gotten involved, and I consider myself lucky everyday for all the opportunities I have been given.

svcserviceeventThrough taking the risk to get involved in various organizations, I strengthened a true passion for students and know I have accomplished all I’ve set out for. What R U waiting for?!

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mpaskoMichelle Pasko is a School of Arts and Sciences junior studying English, and has recently been accepted the Graduate School of Education 5-year K-12 English Education program. Michelle is currently a Service Event Coordinator for the Student Volunteer Council, a Writing Coach through the Rutgers Learning Center, and homework grader for Math 106. Her passion for education and helping students has led her through all of these amazing opportunities, and she is very excited to be a teaching a FIGS course on Exploring Education next Fall. Michelle also loves writing and starting each day with a cup of coffee and listening to a few Taylor Swift songs.

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DCLead14 Spotlight: I am passionate about community service… What R U waiting for?

By: Stephanie Arronis

1901268_10202726078327244_270951215_n[1]All someone ever needs is to know that someone cares. A simple smile or hello can have such an impact! Throughout these four days I came across multiple people and heard what they had to say. I have learned just how incorrect the stereotypes surrounding homelessness are in this past week. People can become homeless because of many reasons that are not limited to family problems, personal problems, and even losing their home in general from a natural disaster. Overall, the lack of affordable housing is the biggest cause of homelessness. Pretending like they do not exist will not make the issue go away. Maybe all they want was for someone to talk too and be treated like a regular human being, because just like us they too have a story to tell? This trip challenged my perceptions and opened my eyes to the ways in which we can show others human compassion. In addition, I had opportunity to work in various aspects of homelessness and hunger. Nonetheless, the moment that impacted me the most was being able to eat a meal with complete strangers and having the ability to connect with them on a personal level.

 

1966907_10203041073804009_989300515_n[1]On Wednesday night Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), the program we were working with, gave us the opportunity to cook, serve and eat with people who came to YSOP needing a meal. They weren’t necessarily homeless, but perhaps just hungry or needed to have a conversation. During the meal, I met two people who had a profound impact on me. These two gentlemen inspired me and opened my eyes to an unknown world. Johnny’s spirituality, confidence and motivation made me realized that those affected by homelessness do not see themselves as homeless, but rather human beings that are displaced. His love towards God makes me feel like everything is possible. I also had the opportunity to meet Howard. What shocked me the most about his story was that he was not homeless; he was just a man that needed a friend, someone to hear him. While hearing his life story I felt how our souls met and connected in a way I would never have expected! As he kept talking I held his hand and just wanted to hug him. These two random faces turned into friends in a matter of an hour. The way they impacted my life is something I cannot explain but I wish them both the best.

I am passionate about community service, what R U waiting for?

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DC pictureStephanie Arronis is an Arts and Sciences freshman double majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology with a minor in Health and Society. She has volunteered in various locations throughout the North Brunswick and New Brunswick community. This summer she will be entering her fourth season as a camp counselor at Eagles Landing Day Camp. Where her passion for kids has allowed her to develop her leadership and team building skills. She is also an active member of the First Year 15 Leadership program and Phi Mu Sorority.