Guest Blog Post: What I Learned from Service

June 5, 2017
Megan McKeever
Megan McKeever

Service-learning has taught me how to go outside of myself and my world and focus on much bigger and better things. Before college, I never spent any time focusing on my community. I was an athlete and an A and B student that felt as if I needed to help anyone it would be me. Some might say I had a lack of concern for others or was a little selfish. I wanted to say I was focusing on myself before anyone else. This is the way I raised though, so I didn't expect anyone to care what I was doing and I didn't focus on what others were doing. My father always advised me to focus on myself because he wanted me to exceed in everything I did. But once I hit college, I realized a shift in the way I was raised to think to the way I think now. I rushed for my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, where we volunteer many hours at our local food bank and do other service for our community. My English 100A and B class also required us to do some service in our community so we all helped out in a local elementary school called University La Fiesta. I was partnered up with a young girl named Kaylee and my experience with her was amazing.

[Related: Envisioning a Sustainable Future through Interdisciplinary Conversations and Conferences]

In my experience of working with my student, Kaylee, we discussed how she could essentially change the world with her experiences. In the beginning, Kaylee was very shy and didn't know where to begin in her Dear World project. But once she broke out of her shell, she discussed how she wanted change. We discussed her interests and what she loves to do. She explained to me how she loved playing with her baby cousin and reading books to him. Kaylee expressed interest in her hobbies but especially her baby cousin. With those interests, I proposed she did something with reading and being active. This helped her realize how she wanted to change the world. 

Compared to my initial expectation vs. my actual experience, I would say it is relatively similar. I love helping children and helping them grow. In my experience, Kaylee was everything I expected. I wanted a kid that was attentive and was willing to listen to my ideas as well as give me her examples and reflect on how it was relevant in her life. In my first reflection, I questioned how I perceived the world at that time and talking with Kaylee helped me understand how I used to be. All I cared about was playing outside with my brother and being active as well as doing my homework. Kaylee and I shared similar experiences in that sense with how we perceive the world at that age. Also I loved her message and her thoughts were so innocent and simple but also they were deep and meaningful. Just her simple message was deep and meaningful.