It’s Okay to Be Selfish Sometimes

Holy Cross has some of the most motivated students around.  One of the great things about our motivation is how it reaches beyond our academic lives and into the Worcester community.  With over 96% of students having participated in some sort of service program before graduation, it’s safe to say Holy Cross  places great emphasis on serving the community.

Many students don’t realize that this service is a two-way street.  Other students do realize this mutual benefit and struggle to unpack the complications of selfishness in “charity.”  Well, I think it’s okay to be selfish sometimes.  Before you’re too off-put by this statement, hear me out.  I know we live in a culture that tends to look down upon selfishness.  And generally, selfishness is something that deserves to be looked down upon.  But when it comes to service, it’s hard to escape the fact that we can leave feeling that we’ve gotten more out of it than we’ve put in (oftentimes because this is the case).

I think it’s okay to embrace this dynamic for all its inescapability.  On a personal note, I grew up in an environment that completely sheltered me from many of the injustices I’ve learned about through my community engagement.  Although the mark I’ve left on the Worcester community is small in its reach, the mark Worcester has left on me will influence all my pursuits as I look to the future.

Social justice is something I rarely gave serious consideration before I came to Holy Cross.  But after three years of involvement in my community, social justice has become integral to my plans for after graduation.  After seeing the “gritty reality of the world,” I can’t help but feel convicted to use my opportunities and privileges toward positive change–even if it’s a small one.

So, I have to wonder if embracing the selfish aspects of service means becoming aware of the world in a way that was never possible before, then what do you have to lose?


–Rachel Greenberg ’15

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