Turn to Service for the Summer

by on September 12th, 2015

Imagine it’s January and it seems as if all your friends have already started applying for summer internships. All around you names of prestigious companies and renowned institutions are being rattled out.

Now it’s April and you are still unsure of your plans. Do you get a job, lounge around at home, or join the bandwagon?

What many students fail to realize is that experience can be acquired from other means. For me, I turned to service for the summer and it was as fulfilling and rewarding of an experience as any paid internship or job. For the past few months, I volunteered at Loaves and Fishes and was brought on as an intern helping the impoverished and homeless community in the Sacramento area.

While on the job, I was mentored and given the chance to work in all the divisions of the nonprofit organization. I handled and logged data, inventoried, advertised, but notably, I honed my soft skills through interactions with the guests who frequented Friendship Park, the division where I was mostly stationed.

Every day, I spoke with eight hundred to one thousand people and in the process, I saw improvement in my customer service abilities. I acquired an ease with which I was able to strike up a conversation with new people. I was learning, I was growing, but in a plethora of ways.

In the business field, it is imperative to know how to converse with others on the job and how to convey your ideas in a concise and eloquent manner. Working at Loaves and Fishes was no different: the park was the career fair, the guests the recruiters, and the floor was mine for the taking, to mold and feel as the practice rink before recruiting season. I am ready.

So, take that summer service opportunity because it may not be the impressive internship that every college student hopes for, but you will learn so much more about yourself and others in the process.

When I left Loaves and Fishes, I left with new stories, bonds, viewpoints, knowledge, friendships, but most importantly, I left as a new me—a version of myself that was more competent, confident, and conditioned.

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Grace Chow is majoring in finance and sociology at the University of Notre Dame. After she graduates in 2018, Grace plans to go into investment banking. She dreams of starting a non profit someday. Grace will graduate in 2018.

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