For the past few weeks since I have been back to school from spring break, I have been donating a large amount of my time on the weekends to community service. I realized that it’s something that I really like to do, and it’s something that I have constantly done since I was little (even throughout high school). I thought it would be a good idea to get back into it.
Earlier this semester, my friend had introduced me into this one group on campus that is focused on community service and leadership. Some of the requirements of the group is to obtain about 250 hours of source through work, community service, clubs, and organizations that I had been involved in. At first, I was pretty sure that I had just eliminated my chances of being in the group because I realized that I never documented any of those hours.
It took me a while to muster enough effort and motivation to actually start thinking back to the amount of times that I had actually did community service. It turns out that I had done alot of it. I remembered volunteering last semester, and it still counted for this semester. I was super happy about that. I had volunteered at the inauguration of the university’s new president. That was really fun because I was a volunteer that guided people who needed special needs. I felt special, like I actually played a role in the inauguration. I remember volunteering only for the benefit of saying that I actually did it. I mean who could honestly say that they helped out with their president’s inauguration?
For whatever reason, at the time I felt like this inauguration would be memorable. And it certainly was, definitely for reasons that I would have never imagined.
Anyways, a few weeks ago, I helped out with another event on campus that was about increasing the amount of involvement of females in STEM fields. I had helped out last year, but those hours wouldn’t count. It didn’t matter. It was something that was always a joy for me to help out with. I fully believed in the fact that more girls needed to be exposed to STEM fields. Many times, the guys are the ones given the building toys and the computers and the video games and the technology. On the other hand, the girls are given the little kitchen sets and the dollhouses and the sewing kits. That’s only going to help them become good stay-at-home moms. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what if that girl wants to do something else? What if she would like to learn how to build and design things? What if she learned how to engage in combat? What if she knew how to build her own computer?
That’s the purpose of the organization that I worked with.
So college students are paired with 7th and 8th graders, and you become her “buddy” for the day. You take her around to different workshops and work with her aon different activities.
This year, I had a 7th grader who, I must say, really impressed me. She told me that she wanted to study Computer Science, just like how her dad did. She had already had programming experience from her dad who is a programmer for a very renown camera company. He has already shown both his daughter and son how to write code! Her dad went to MIT, and her mom was super nice.
We went to a workshop about bioluminescence. So they mixed a few chemicals together, and it glowed in the flask. I watched as they took a really long time measuring the chemicals and pouring them into flasks. They even took a super long time putting on gloves. It was the funniest thing to watch, because nowadays I could do all of that under a minute. It goes to show that all the abilities that we did learn were acquired…
After that, we went to this computer programming workshop about coding and making your own code to create your own animation. I was fascinated at first, and I now understood a little bit about how code worked, but it was sooo boring for me. I quickly fell asleep during it. I even had to excuse myself so I could walk around a little to stay awake. The girl I was with definitely had fun, especially since her mom, dad, and brother were right with her the entire time. They were having a jolly good time.
After that was another chemistry lab, which woke me up. It was all about polymers which was really cool. I learned about how you could easily break a CD once you put some esters (or was it ethers) on them. In the next one, we dissolved a styrofoam cup into a solution. The next once, we made some silly puddy. In the next one, we made this long polyester chain. Now that one was really cool because he showed me what exactly he did and how it worked. I came up to him after the experiment and asked for the mechanism. He asked how much organic chemistry I had taken, and I told him that I was finishing up my 2nd semester. It looked like his eyes had lit up, and he was like “Oh cool!”. so he showed me the mechanism which I was super amazed by because I had just taken a test on it. It was all about a substitution between an amide and a carboxylic acid. He even showed me how to make the bonds on a large scale, because apparently he was showing them the baby version way to make it. I was super intrigued by it.
So after that, it was time to go. I said goodbye to my buddy and her family after the closing ceremony (where she actually won something in the raffle! 😀 ), and I left.
This is honestly something that I plan to do every year that I am here. Maybe next year I’ll be on the planning committee. Though that will be a whole lot of work, I believe that I could do it.