How Service Shaped Me
For as long as I can remember, I was always someone who thought that service wasn’t worth my time. During my years in middle school and a large portion of my freshman year, I always put off service and thought that it was an obstacle in my way from accomplishing what I wanted to do. I felt that this belief that I had of service was one that I would keep for the rest of my life as up to my freshman year I had little to no experience with service and the experiences I did have were rather forgettable in my mind. One day near the end of the first semester of my freshman year, I saw that I had zero service hours for the year and realized that I needed to do something. When I saw that I needed to do service I was dreading the idea and just wanted to get it over with quickly. After some deliberation, I decided that I would go to Miami Rescue Mission which is a homeless shelter that provides many services to people in need.
When I arrived there my view on service was altered completely and I gained an understanding of service I never had before. When I arrived at Miami Rescue Mission I went to the kitchen to serve food to people directly. In the beginning, I was rather nervous and maybe uncomfortable doing something like this for the first time in my life. Although as time went on I grew more and more comfortable. I begin to talk with the people I was serving the food to and as I talked to them more and more I came to the realization that they were just regular people in a rough spot in their life. This understanding that I reached made me want to come back to the kitchen and I gained a desire to help out these people as much as I could. As I spent time in the homeless shelter I gained a great sense of fulfillment knowing that even though I won’t get rewarded directly for anything my actions are helping my community and the people around me. That fact in and of itself was enough for me to want to come back and start participating in service activities more and more. This change in my idea of service didn’t only change my idea of service but also changed me as an individual. I began to value the people around me more and look out for opportunities to help those around me. I also began to be more open to opportunities even if it’s not related to service as my mindset had changed from that of being one that is unmoving and unchanging to one that is more open to new opportunities in my life.
My change in mindset revolving around service impacted other parts of my life such as my participation in my school’s water polo team. Water polo had been a large part of my life ever since I started it in 6th grade. I had always been in love with the sport of water polo but never felt that I was truly connected to doing it and felt that it was just an activity I did for fun after school. This made me slowly start to lose interest in water polo over time. However, this look on water polo changed along with my changed outlook on service. When my idea of service changed and I gained a new appreciation for the community around me I gained a whole new appreciation for water polo. This appreciation was not of the sport itself but of the people that I was doing it with. I began to value the people I played water polo with far more than I ever did before. This new look on the sport and the people around me reinvigorated my passion for the sport I began to get more involved in water polo. Instead of just being on a seasonal team I joined a club and tried my best to improve as much as I could. My enjoyment of the sport along with my passion for the sport skyrocketed due to the new mindset and view on life that I gained leading me to value the things around me far more than I ever did before.
My Changed Mindset resulting from my service opportunities impacted me greatly at the time and for the foreseeable future. Participating in service for my community made me appreciate the community around me and filled me with a desire to help and push myself forward with all aspects of my life be it with service, sports, or any other activity I’m doing at the time.