Service-Work Projects - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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November 2, 2015

Service-Work Projects

Spring break is one of my favorite times of year. Unlike fall break (recovering from midterms), Thanksgiving break (on the brink of finals), Christmas break (the holiday bustle), or Easter break (family obligations), there is rarely any academic or personal bustle going on over spring break—which is why it was the perfect time for me to participate in a service-work project.

The term “service-work project” is used as a blanket term for plenty of different things. Community service, humanitarian aid, mission trips: all of these things could be considered service-work projects. I spent one spring break participating in a service-work project. I was with a small team that went to Washington D.C. While we were there, we learned a lot about the political side of humanitarian aid, met with our state senators and representatives to lobby a bill that was going through at the time, and volunteered at a marathon. We also had time to view the sights, go through several of the museums and bond together as a team.

During my time in Washington D.C, I felt like I was being incredibly helpful. I was being productive with my time. More importantly, I had a fantastic learning experience, including why it’s great to participate in a service-work project over spring break!

I was productive during my time off. I’m a huge fan of sleeping. I’m also a huge fan of video games, home-cooked meals and Project Runway. Left to my own devices over spring break, I cycle through all of those at sloth-like speeds. Breaks are great, but being productive over break didn't mean that I was sleep deprived and stressed. My time during Washington D.C was busy, but I was also given plenty of time to rest and explore on my own. By participating in a service-work project, I used my spring break to help others!

I created a network for myself. We all know that college is one of the most important times in a person’s life for networking. We’re young, we’re broke, and there’s a good chance that we haven’t established a career for ourselves yet. Participating in service work helped me build relationships with people. I still talk to my teammates, even though our Washington D.C experience was two years ago. I was able to meet my state representative and communicate with their office. These are all people that have been added into my network and could potentially help me later in finding a job, helping me with something or being able to answer questions I have that fall within their field!

I gained a new perspective. Even though service-work projects are meant for to help others, I was also helped in return. After spending time in Washington D.C, lobbying for people who were not able to represent themselves, I gained an entirely different perspective on a lot of issues. I also realized that my position at a small liberal arts college was a privilege that not everyone has.

Participating in a service work project is bound to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your college career as it was for me. My time in Washington D.C gave me somewhere to go over spring break (shout out to all of the international students who have a hard time going anywhere for breaks!), helped me make friends and create a network, and gave me a new perspective on not only social justice issues, but my own education. It was an incredibly helpful and humbling experience, and I suggest that every college student go on at least one service-work project trip!

Geneva College offers QUEST trips during the spring, which are affordable ways for students to travel, experience the culture of different cities, and immerse themselves in a service-work project. More information about QUEST trips can be found here: http://www.geneva.edu/cse/service-learning/quest/quest_trip_list


–Mikayla Covington ’16


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