High school is an important four years of a person’s life. It’s the transition between being a small and naive child into an adult capable of leaving home either to college or the workforce. High school is required to mold students, give them the skills and confidence in order to be successful. Some people find this change through sports, or personal experiences or other clubs. I found this necessary change through service learning. I have been in service learning groups since my freshmen year when I was in the New York Service Learning Trip. For the following three years I did NOLA and now that the final school trip is done I’ve looked back and was able to see how fully responsible service learning is for the person I am today.
Back in middle school I was quiet, shy and invisible to everyone except my friends. I was scared of everything, unable to even raise my hand in class because I was afraid I would be wrong. Then I entered freshmen year and I felt like I faded even more and got more scared; there were too many new people, I rarely was in classes with my close friends (All my friends were in band), and the school was huge. I signed up for the New York Service trip because my sister was in NOLA and it sounded like fun. I was glad when I got in but if I had known how important to me this program would become I would’ve been fully and utterly relaxed.
The change started at the first fundraiser New York did; we went to a professional hockey game and sold chuck-a-puck bags. The problem was we had to get people to buy them and to do that we needed their attention. I knew I had to yell. For someone who spoke few words to people I wasn’t comfortable with I was freaked out. I made a choice though in that moment; I was comfortable with Kane, I was comfortable with the other NY girl I was with and I wanted the fundraiser to be successful, so I started yelling. I yelled and I yelled and I yelled until my throat was sore and I knew what I was doing was alright and nothing to be afraid of. We left that night with our fundraiser successful and me just a little less scared of the world.
Over the next few years change like this occurred slowly as all change occurs but each meeting, each fundraiser gave me more personal skills and knowledge. NOLA has taught me such simple things as how to talk to professional people on the phone, how to advertise, how to plan events, how to speak in front of large groups of people and how to organize sales. These simple things were followed by larger ideas; NOLA taught me to be confident of myself, taught me to be comfortable in new situations, and most importantly taught me I have a lot of offer to the world.
This year I am about to graduate. I have multiple schools to choose from, multiple paths my life can take. I’m not afraid though, the idea of college terrified me four years ago but now I know I will be successful in any of the paths I choose. The only thing I’m scared about is that I won’t be able to have another experience as amazing as NOLA has been. Each year when I go down to New Orleans I am given a week with 40 people who care about me and trust me like I care and trust them. I get to work as hard as I possibly can while leaving behind all my trouble from school or my personal life. NOLA is a break from life where I have a huge family; everyone should be able to experience this type of personal experience.