A Volunteer Experience I Had

When I was in high school, I was one of the most selfish people you could ever meet. I did not care about others and had no interest in anything unless I could directly gain something in return. I know it is a horrible trait, but in my defense I was a teenager. I have grown since then, but it took awhile for me to become the person I am today.

In America, students are strongly encouraged to do volunteer work. Of course, since it was optional, I had absolutely no desire to voluntarily give up my free time when I could have been doing something far more appealing to my younger self. However, volunteer work looked really amazing on college applications.

For students wanting to enter university in the United States, we create applications. They are similar to a resume and we send them out to various institutions hoping we will be accepted. In our applications, they provide basic information and also extracurricular activities. One popular activity was volunteer work.

Therefore, because I could gain something directly from this, I joined the volunteer club. In my school it was called Key Club. It was a national organization with branches all throughout America. They boasted about service to community and building character. I couldn’t have cared less. All I wanted was to put it down in my application for college.

Upon joining the club, most of the other members seemed hesitant. It was notoriously known throughout the school that I was lazy, and they were surprised I was even at the meeting. They were probably either very skeptical or curious. Perhaps it was a mix of both. Either way, they actually allowed me to join. However they were not very optimistic about the situation.

Perhaps this was where karma set in. During one such volunteer assignment, I had to shovel horse manure during a parade. Not only was this a parade in my city, but my classmates were either marching or watching the parade so they could see me in full glory. There I was in a bright blue t-shirt, holding a shovel and chasing after horses to pick up after them. Not very glamorous, I know!

Looking back, it was a humbling experience. However, my high school self thought otherwise and I remember spending the entire time moaning and groaning. I also vaguely remember yelling at an older man that was trying to give me tips on how to hold my shovel. I was an angry and emotional teenager and I am thoroughly embarrassed by my actions, but the past is the past.

Now, I find volunteer work more rewarding. I enjoy helping others, and I find happiness in simple things like making other people smile. Yes, I have grown immensely since then and I do appreciate that I was never kicked out of the club.

Would I do volunteer work now? Perhaps. I am at a different place in my life, but if I had more time I would love to join some sort of organization that helps people.



institution (n) - an organization started for a religious, educational, professional or social purpose
extracurricular (adj.) - used to describe extra activities (such as sports) that can be done by students that are not part of the regular schedule of classes
boast (v) - talk with a lot of pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities
skeptical (adj.) - not easily convinced; having doubt or reservation
manure (n) - solid waste from farm animals (that is used to make soil better for growing plants)
immensely (adv.) - to a great extent; extremely