“Why I decided to apply to become a CBL Intern” – Anh Nguyet Phan ’21

Conflicted on whether or not to apply to the Community-Based Learning Intern program? 

Well let me tell you how I got involved and how thankful I currently am four years later as a senior at Holy Cross! Three years ago, I was a freshman who had my eyes set on doing well in my science classes to achieve my long term goal of becoming a dentist. I was a very ambitious student, taking the three STEM classes that everyone advised not to take together: chemistry, biology, and calculus. My fourth class, my Montserrat class, was a class that my naive freshman self thought would not be useful and enjoyable because it was not related to the field of science. However, to this day, my Montserrat class ended up being one my favorite classes I have taken at Holy Cross, and a class that I will always be thankful for because it introduced me to CBL.

Freshman year, I was given the great opportunity to volunteer at the Worcester Public Library to help adults of varying ages study for the citizenship exam. To some, this experience might be another service opportunity; however, to me, it meant a lot more that I was able to help with something so close to my heart. Being an immigrant myself and having to go through the citizenship exam to get my citizenship, I know how much pressure and work the whole process is. Being able to help these folks take a step closer at achieving their dreams meant everything to me- and it still does. Seeing not only the positive impact that I had, but also the impact that the opportunity had on me, I knew that I wanted to apply to the CBL Intern Program. 

In addition, through CBL, I was able to reconnect with my 6th grade teacher at my elementary school, Worcester Academy, as I volunteered in her classroom during my sophomore and junior year. Just over ten years ago, I was a kid that was struggling to read, write, and speak the English language. Who I am today is largely because of the amount of work, time, and effort that Woodland Academy put into me during my time there. To be able to give back a little of what my elementary school and teachers had given me is an absolute privilege, and I cannot be thankful enough to CBL for allowing me to do so. This experience revealed to me just how much I love the Worcester community, how much I want to learn more about it, and how much I want to give back to it. Through CBL, I am able to do all of this, and this realization also pushed me to apply for the CBL Intern Program at the end of my freshman year. 

In addition to this, other aspects of the program also intrigued and excited me. I was most looking forward to building my communication and leadership skills through working with community partners, students, and staff. From being a CBL Intern for the last three years, I can confidently say that I have accomplished this and much more. CBL not only helped me become a more well-rounded student, but also a well-rounded Worcester resident and individual. Ever since freshman year, CBL has become my family, and I feel so thankful and fortunate to be a part of this program. If you share the same excitement for Worcester and CBL, I highly encourage you to consider applying!

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