When I first entered college, I was very closed minded. For a significant part of my college life, I was engrossed in this tunnel vision way of thinking, so much so that I did not care about anything else in my life except my friends, and passing all my classes as fast as I can. All I wanted to do is to graduate as soon as possible and to start making money right away as well as “getting my life started.” Little did I know that I was missing a huge part of college and even life itself.
The whole tunnel vision plan that I was doing was going okay. I always made sure to comply with all school requirements and to have a social life outside my academic life as well. And while I was just going along with my “plan”, I saw all my friends getting involved in these non academic/academic extra curricular activities and organisations, and I thought to myself “what a waste of time and effort”. I was already struggling to get my grades as high as I could and just the thought of putting more time and effort into something that was not even “required” and with no gratification afterwards, just seemed so unappealing to me. Which is why I avoided it all together. However, as hard as I tried to go along with my “fool proof” plan, I learned that I was the “fool” all along. Because despite what I thought and despite all I was going through with school and everything else, I felt empty. I felt something was missing. I felt unfulfilled. Because you see even though my academics took most out of my time, I wasn’t even the best student. Grades wise, I was average. Some classes I would do great in, but not as frequent as one would hope. So I felt unfulfilled.
Even though “grades” aren’t everything, which I very much do believe, and that college is suppose to be a time when we as young adults can find ourselves but also have a lot of fun with not as much responsibility as a working adult, you’d think “oh that’s the life”. Which I have to admit, for a little while, yes it was. But that feeling of bliss won’t last forever. I found that there is not a sense of fulfillment in that, even when you’re young. So I decided to get out of my small little tunnel vision world and to see what I could do to reach out and to widen my horizons so to speak. And I thought a good way to start is through these student organisations all my friends were participating in. So I scoured my school with the hopes of finding what I was seeking. However, all the organisations I ran into did not seem all that appealing to me. They were just not something I felt was worth putting my spare time and effort in. No disrespect or degradation to them, but I just did not feel like it was for me. Until I ran into this one organisation that was the only advocacy based organisation that I found. And their advocacy was “inclusion”. I won’t get into all the details but needless to say that their goal and their purpose is to create a better world for everyone. And I thought, “that is something definitely worth putting your time and effort to”.
Fast forward a couple of months, I found myself volunteering on a regular basis, learning more about the organisation and what they stood for, and just giving myself to it with whatever help I can give with no expectation of any reward whatsoever. But as cheesy as this may sound, the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself and working with others to even just see a slight improvement in the world was just the fulfillment I was looking for which in a way is my reward. And not to mention the incredible and diverse group of individuals I met along the way, who have become something like a second family to me is just the best sense of gratification anyone could ask for.
The point of this whole story is that sometimes, we need to step out of ourselves and to see the world around us. Because no matter how much you keep to yourself, the world will always be there and catch up with you. And when you do finally step out, wouldn’t you like to step into a world that is at least a tiny bit better then how you found it? And there is no better way to achieve do that then to do your part. And it is more then just “pulling your weight” or “making your mark” but from what I found, it is also about having that sense of fulfillment, joy and pride when you can say at the end of the day, when you get home, just right before you go to bed, you could say, “I had a part in that”. And you may not even see any physical results, maybe not even in your life time, but when it does happen, and I do believe it will happen, you can say not a lot of other people can – “I made the world a little bit better then how I found it”.
Published: November 23, 2020
Written by Bobby Anonas, a current regional intern for World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific.
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