"We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved." -- Mother Teresa
Summer for college students used to be known as vacation, a way to relax and hang out with friends before another school year starts. But now, summers have turned into students spending their time working or interning. That being said, I got a lot of criticism for taking a summer off from working or interning for the first time in around five years. It was a very tough decision for me to make, but I couldn't be happier. I decided this summer, I am going to do things for me, not necessarily my career.
I realized I needed to do what makes me happiest in life, which is helping others. I do one good deed a day and volunteer at shelters, but it wasn't enough for me. I am about to embark on a journey where I will spend about a month with the Marist Missionary Sisters in Kingston, Jamaica, volunteering with underprivileged children. I lead retreats and leadership conferences for Marist Young Adult, where I get to work with high school students from all over the world. At one of the conferences I heard one of the sisters from the Marist Missionary Sisters speak, and I just knew that I had to go and work with them. I sent an email out saying I just want to volunteer with kids, and I'll go wherever they needed help. They said we can use you in Kingston, Jamaica, where we work with the under privileged children there. When I looked up Kingston, I was scared after reading about its high crime rates and high poverty levels, but I knew I had to go.
Not going to lie, I am nervous. Even though there is crime everywhere, I am still scared! I wonder how I'm going to survive without having Internet 24/7 or watching reality TV. I don't just leave my work, friends, or family every day. I'm a normal girl, who never travels alone, plans her schedule, and is always on her phone sending emails. I'm not really sure what awaits me in Kingston, but it's a leap of faith that I have to take.
That's what brings me to the quote I chose today. Sometimes we're so focused on our careers and school that we forget about all those around us who are literally struggling to survive. Can you imagine being 5 years old, not being able to afford to go to school, you're forced to live on the street, and you don't know when you'll eat again? Well, unfortunately, that is reality for many families in Jamaica. I'm not sure what I can give the kids to Kingston, but I know I can love them, and at times that's all you need. I will be blogging about my experience in Kingston, and I hope you will come along on this journey with me!
Follow Opal Vadhan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OpalVadhan