Preparing for my upcoming graduation is a bittersweet experience. I find myself reminiscing on the many opportunities I have had during my four years at Holy Cross. One of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had is engaging in service through CBL. It not only has allowed me to see all that Worcester offers but also taught me why service is so beneficial, and in particular what it means to me. This year I have begun to focus on the discernment of my life path and how I can continue serving others in the future. Leading me to ask myself the question, why do I serve?
According to Fr. Michael Himes, when discerning our life path, we must reflect on what brings us joy. For me, since I was young, I have found joy in cooking. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to cook. My parents tell me stories of how I used to watch them over them as they prepared dinner, and how for my first Halloween at school, I decided I wanted to dress up as a chef. This love for cooking has been passed down for generations on both sides of my family. It was a way to connect and engage in conversations through a communal meal. It also allowed me to learn about new cultures through different recipes I found. I can remember spending hours reading my Emeril cookbook that showcased a recipe from each country. I loved learning what customs people around the world had and how they too came together as a family to enjoy a meal. Today, I still find so much meaning in developing connections with others and learning about their unique perspectives on the world. Which I believe attributed to my passion for cooking.
As I began service at Holy Cross, I found that this passion for learning about others and making connections motivates me to continue serving others. My first CBL experience at Catholic Charities Mercy Centre, an organization that served individuals with developmental disabilities, allowed me to understand what service truly means. After my first day, I wanted to change my site. I felt like I was not contributing anything. During the time I spent there, I was not actively doing anything other than conversing with others. Through reflection sessions in my Montserrat course “Exploring Differences,” I began to realize how beneficial this type of service was and how much I enjoyed it. I was there in community with others who are often looked down upon by society. I learned about their passions and built great connections with them each week. This is what has motivated me to keep serving others. Through these experiences, I learn about the world through conversation and build connections with people whose lives are different than my own. Although, service can sometimes seem difficult, as the problems we try and ease are often intractable. I find hope and stay motivated through the power of others. When I feel discouraged, I gain strength by listening to others and hearing their passion surrounding issues they care about. The power of coming together is so important to me as division only worsens these issues.
I serve because I find joy in learning about others and building meaningful relationships. I desire to serve in ways that will positively have an impact on others and work towards real change in the world. Finally, I serve because through the power of hope, I feel we can create a world that is more just and equitable for all, where all people can succeed and share their unique gifts. After I graduate, I hope to continue serving others and learn about the world through community. I will forever be grateful to Holy Cross and the CBL office for allowing me to explore new opportunities that led to me finding a true passion within serving others.