1. Describe the service you have done during your undergraduate years:
I have been a volunteer at ORMC for 1 year (around 100 hours), a volunteer at Shepherd's Hope for almost 2 years (around 190 hours), a Burnett Community Scholar (year and a half) for 600 hours and then JUMP.
2. What is your favorite memorable Moment:
I have one really awesome moment: I was tutoring a 5th grader in math. He was usually highly disruptive and at times offensive, so the teacher sent him with me. The lesson was on mean, median mode and percentages, and this student was completely disinterested. So to take a break, I asked him about his shirt: a Miami Heat jersey. The kid was immediately animated, talking at length about his favorite basketball players. I was amazed at his ability to recite statistics: he could rattle off three point averages and other stats off the top of his head. I then saw an opportunity, and asked him if he knew how those statistics were generated. He said no, and I used it to re-introduce the topic of mean, median and mode. While this student may not love math because of this experience, the fact that I was able to interest him for a little while in the math lesson really made my day, and created a bond between this student and myself.
3. What lessons were learned from your service:
Never dismiss someone by first appearances. Many of the students I tutor are the offensive, loud and disruptive ones. It is easy to label them as less intelligent, or lazy. But when I am with them one on one, I discover many are intelligent, but often hurting. The burdens that many of these young undeserved students face are incredible, and gaining a glimpse into their lives not only makes me feel gratitude for my own situation but also allows me to empathize with them, and feel even greater zeal to help them succeed.
4. How were your horizon’s broadened (social issues, etc.):
See above :)
5. What is the educational value of service?
It is easy to absorb information passively in the classroom. Service allows you to see the relevance of your studies, and forces you to apply knowledge in unique and creative ways.
6. How will you be able to relate your service to your future career?
As a future physician (hopefully), I hope to continue to provide healthcare for undeserved populations. My experiences at Shepherd's Hope and in public middle schools has increased my awareness of the needs in these populations, and has greatly humanized what can be a rather abstract discussion of "healthcare disparities." I have realized in a more concrete way that these undeserved populations are made up of people just like you and me: people with great struggles as well as with hopes and dreams.