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Service Work at Vanderbilt

Posted by on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 in Balance, Scholarships and Financial Aid, The College Essay, Vanderbilt Alternative Spring Break.

During high school I was president of a service organization. As a RA in college I was required to coordinate monthly service projects that the women on my floor would find engaging. Service work was a fairly regular part of life. However, when I started graduate studies I found myself repeatedly finding reasons why I couldn’t participate in service: too much class work, or the hours didn’t fit my time schedule, or I didn’t know anyone working in the organizations. There was always a reason I couldn’t get involved.

Through my work at Vanderbilt University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, though, I began to read these inspiring stories of service. Many of the applicants I worked with were devoting significant portions of their lives to others in their community. These essays I read transformed my mindset and I realized there was no excuse good enough anymore. Today I participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee program. My mentee is one of the best parts of my week because she is resilient and talking with her reorients my priorities.

This shift in my thinking was inspired by all of YOU – those of you who have applied or will apply to Vanderbilt. Sunday night I spent two hours with the Ingram Scholarship finalists, these are students for whom service is a way of life.  During dinner I was further humbled by the diverse ways in which young individuals have responded to the needs of others. I left the event already brainstorming ways I could ramp up my service work here in the Nashville area.

If service work is something you believe in, Vanderbilt is a place where you can truly find like minds.  Thank you to those of you who give back to your community. Thank you to those of you who have shared your stories with me.

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