(Student Essay Fall 2015)
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” This quote by Lao Tzu stands out to be the most in relationship to the act of service we did for this class.
When I found out that an act of service was a part of our curriculum I instantaneously got excited that I could further my help to those who can really benefit from it. Ever since I’ve been young the only thing that I have ever felt good at was helping people. When I was younger and even now, the only time I have ever felt fulfilled as a human being was giving to those I could. When I was in fourth grade my dad helped a family who came illegally to the United States in search for a better life in the states. My dad owned a pavement business where he would give jobs to those “under the table” so they can get money and start to plan a life to have her in the states. One of the workers had a daughter who I became close with right when I met her. She didn’t know much English at first but since she was my age, we hit it off over watching Mean Girls and freshly baked cookies we made from scratch. Although she was my friend I would give her a lot of clothes that I grew out of and even though they were hand me downs in my eyes, to her this was like getting absolutely new clothes. I felt so happy that I could make someone else happy. What is so beautiful about helping others is that it doesn’t even need to be a materialistic thing that you are giving. Sometimes all people want is to be talked to and understood.
I got my service project idea one day when I was leaving the bathrooms at TCC. I was waiting for the custodian to finish cleaning the sinks at the school bathroom and I was waiting my turn to use the sinks to wash my hands. The custodian started rushing to finish cleaning and said “I am so sorry ma’am I’ll be done soon, I’m sorry!” I replied “No worries! Don’t worry about it!” Right away I felt so bad that someone who is doing their job was apologizing for doing their job. I was the one using the bathrooms provided for me and without the custodians the campus would truly fall apart. I think about the fact that everyone wants to pursue their dream job but unfortunately, some things just happen and fate steps in. Although the custodians may not want to do their job, the fact that I have always been treated so nicely by here is such an awesome feeling. I noticed how the custodial staff is overlooked in a way and people just go on with their days ignoring them as they walk by them. I don’t think I have ever heard someone ask them how THEIR day went. For the service project I decided to get the custodial staff a little gift for the holidays. Since it’s almost time for the holidays I wanted to get the custodians a little something just so they can feel appreciated. I wrote them a card about how much I appreciate what they do every single day and how if it wasn’t for them that the school would not be as nice as it is today. I also wrote that I hope they enjoy their holiday season and their gifts!
The impact I got from this project was that it’s a different type of fulfillment. You can be fulfilled by materialistic things all you want, but nothing is a better feeling than helping someone else. Not that I feel as if the janitors are in need of things, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone tell you that they appreciate you.
I know that the janitors will get a nice feeling once they open up the card but it certainly won’t be a better feeling than the fulfillment I get from helping someone else.