Service-learning can help you discover your true passion — like working on providing greater access to health care.
Are you the type of student who just doesn’t have time to participate in volunteer community service but wants to find a way to get more involved in the community? Do you feel stuck in a rut — like what you are learning in the classroom isn’t making positive impact in the community?
If so, you should consider enrolling in a service-learning course this upcoming semester. The combination of community service with academics might be the perfect fit for you.
You may be wondering, what’s the point of combining two seemingly unrelated objectives, community service and academics? It’s actually pretty simple. Service-learning courses give you the opportunity to see how your voice and actions can make a difference in the real world.
These courses allow you to see how the subject you are learning can be applied through projects that address real-world concerns. Not only does this help the organization or population you end up working with, but these courses can truly transform the way you think about your world and how you can make a difference in it.
So, what exactly are these projects like anyway?
The types of courses that offer service-learning vary greatly. You might find yourself designing a program that supports at-risk youth in the local community for a psychology course or helping students overcome challenging speech disorders in a communications class.
Most of the time, you have the opportunity to work directly with an organization that has limited resources and relies heavily on outside support. This sets you up to work within the local community, working toward solving real issues that impact our families, friends and neighbors. Here, the hard work and energy you may have dedicated to several 10-page assignments (that will never be read by anyone other than your professor) translates into a useful, practical and valuable experience.
Participating in service-learning can significantly improve your confidence in making career-related decisions.
Designing these projects and carrying them out among a group or with your entire class provides a mini internship experience. Maybe you learned you are really passionate about working with the elderly, or you realize you love with working to improve access to health care.
Service-learning courses can help you decide on (or against) a major or solidify an existing interest in any particular career.
By enrolling in a service-learning course, you will be challenged by the experience of working with your peers to identify solutions that have real applications. This provides a venue for you and your classmates to partake in meaningful conversations. If you are seeking deeper relationships with peers, service-learning is a great way to achieve them.
Not quite convinced?
Ask your peers on campus what their experience has been with community service through service-learning courses. You’ll probably hear rave reviews about how service-learning has made a difference in the lives of your classmates.
If you decide to go for it, remember to keep an open mind and you might just find something meaningful where you least expected it.
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