I’ve heard before that college is the most selfish time of life. I hadn‘t thought much about it until recently. Today at church someone mentioned that even though college is a selfish time of life, we need to find time to focus on serving others. So it got me thinking about my own life and whether I am spending too much time being selfish, or if I am finding time to serve others.
After having a short chat with my roommate Katrina, I have come to the conclusion that yes, college is a selfish time of life. Why? Well…I need to spend time studying for a test that I need to take so I can pass my class and get a good grade to show on my transcript so that when I finish college and I can get a good job in the future. When I go to the grocery store, I buy food for myself. When someone asks me how I am doing, I tell them about my part-time job, my classes, my homework, the students I am working with, etc. ME, ME, ME.
Personally, I think I have been able to overcome parts of the selfish life. How? Well…I tend to be good at finding opportunities to volunteer. I volunteer with SLCAD (Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf), Provo Parks and Recreation, The Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, USDB (Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind), and a few others. Basically, I feel like I find time to reach out and volunteer in the community. But is it enough?
I don’t think it is. I think one of the most important ways to beat the selfish life is to serve those you associate with every day. Be it roommates, family members, classmates, professors, whatever…there is SOME way you can help. This is what I need to mostly work on. When a roommate asks me to help her out with something, I have been known to declare myself as busy and not help out with a simple ride here or there, when I know I should – especially because she has done these things for me in the past. I’m not saying that I never help, but I wish I did more. And I know I can do more. Another idea – make dinner for someone! When you cook for yourself, just double the recipe or decide to not save the leftovers and share with someone instead! I’m sure anyone will appreciate a meal cooked with love.
I am taking 17.5 credits. Next semester it will be 18 credits. I work 17.5 hours a week (from 4am-7:30am Monday through Friday). I am president of a club on campus. Next semester I will be president of two clubs on campus. I need to eat. I need to do my laundry. I need to sleep, but I only average about 5 hours of that a night. Oh, and a social life? What’s that? Basically, life is insane. But I still feel the need to reach out to others and volunteer. When?
I have decided that you just have to MAKE time. Set aside time to volunteer. Find an organization you want to volunteer with, contact them, ask what they need, make a commitment, and stick to it! I’ve found that to be the simplest way to serve. Make a commitment.
So if you’re interested in getting more involved, you kind of need to know where to look. Where? If, like me, you are a student at BYU (Brigham Young University), then your school has a service website! BYU’s website is called Y-Serve, and there you will find MANY opportunities to volunteer. For example…last week I went to the Y-Serve website. Then I clicked on “Disabilities” because I love working with people with disabilities (I’m a Special Education major). There was a list of opportunities, including Kids on the Move (interacting with special needs children while parents attend classes). I found out that they need people next Wednesday night for about 4 hours. Considering it’s during finals week and I won’t have any homework, I definitely signed up for it! It honestly is that simple.
If you are a college student and you feel like you are wrapped up in the selfish life, I encourage you to find simple ways to reach out to those around you. If it’s volunteering with an organization, that’s great. If it’s finding out the needs of those around you and trying to fulfill those needs, that’s great, too. Just make time.
And now I want to quote a great man, Henry B. Eyring: “As you keep the faith, you will find yourself invited by the Lord often to serve someone in need when it will not seem convenient. It may appear to be an unpleasant and perhaps even impossible task. When the call comes, it may seem you are not needed or that someone else could easily give the succor. Remember that when the Lord lets us encounter someone in distress, we honor the good Samaritan for what he did not do as much as for what he did. He did not pass by on the other side even though the beaten traveler on the road was a stranger and perhaps an enemy. He did what he could for the beaten man and then put in place a specific plan for others to do more. He did that because he understood that helping may require more than what one person can do.” (Click here if you want to read the rest of that.)
I encourage everyone (including myself) to do our part to help others.
I have found so much joy in my life through service to others. I hope that you, too, can find that joy.