Do something that matters to you

Whether it be gaining knowledge, developing new skills, or building on existing expierence you should give back to your community while doing something that matters to you. For me it was about gaining knowledge and experience in a potential career field. Ever since I was a young child I have been fascinated with the medical field, specifically mental health. Because I wish to pursue a career in one of these fields I involved myself in activities and classes associated with health. During the course of my high school experience, I discovered that out of all the extracurricular activities I have been involved in, the ones linked to health occupations have been the most meaningful to me. If you are looking to give back to your community, yet want to gain something out of it, you should consider doing something that will be of significance to you when you look back on it.

My volunteering experience

During the summer of 2016, I volunteered at Boone Hospital Center in the Central Services department for a total of 35 hours. Every Tuesday from 8am to 12pm, I would assist the sterilization technicians with any tasks they asked, such as sterilizing tools used in medical procedures, organizing sanitized appliances, supplying the medical closets, and delivering equipment to members of the hospital staff. Through this experience, I was able to observe the different parts and positions everyone played in a hospital setting. All members of the healthcare team played a vital role in assisting the patients and other staff members. With this in mind, I have come to appreciate the effort and teamwork required for a medical facility to be successful. I also learned that details are important in the medical environment. Wrapping certain equipment needed to be done a certain way, and attention to detail was crucial for the benefit of the hospital’s patients. When dealing with the health of others, being mindful is always required because the responsibility of another person is in your hands. During some of my volunteering, I would interact with other teenage volunteers with similar goals and dreams to mine. Hearing others explain why they want to pursue a career in medicine and health has broadened my horizons on the diverse group of coworkers I might work with someday. One girl I spoke with said that she was interested in mental health, and we bonded over our common interest. Meeting people with similar goals has helped me to want to pursue a career that I am interested in, and even push my own expectations of myself to higher ambitions. Getting involved in volunteer activities, especially those relating to health, not only helped others, but helped me in increasing my knowledge of the medical field, allowing me to realize that giving back to the community can be beneficial to others and fulfilling to myself.

Get involved in clubs

At the start of my senior year, I joined HOSA. This is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and of the Health Science Education Division of ACTE. Attending the meetings of HOSA allowed me to properly broaden my perspective of what it means to be involved in a health-career based community. The HOSA meetings gave me an opportunity to decide and explore different healthcare fields. Being interested in this organization, I continued my involvement with HOSA, running as Vice President so I could better understand what kind of healthcare I would like to pursue so I can not only help my future, but help execute proper quality to those I am serving. After being interviewed by the staff of Columbia Public Schools I was elected Vice President based on my past involvement with the heath field, and the plans and goals I had for HOSA. When you get involved with a club you should have goals. As Vice President of HOSA, a goal of mine was to involve all of the 70 active members to be involved in the community of Mid-Missouri, either through volunteering or group service projects. Being apart of a club requires teamwork to function, and it is vital to recognize that every person plays an important role. Helping the community helps everyone involved, and it establishes ourselves in it. Actions speak louder than words, and actively helping in our community is the best way to show that we care. Another goal of mine was to conduct discussions about current healthcare issues and controversies, along with environmental concerns and survival needs of the community. This would allow members of HOSA to develop opinions on different aspects of the health community, and see other opinions from different perspectives. The next goal I wish to accomplish would be to actively seek and promote healthcare job opportunities for members of HOSA. Entering into a field of medicine and health has different paths that people can take, and finding what interests students in a career is important to their future. It is important to me that members of HOSA find what career path they would like to take, and allowing others to experience different jobs will help them find what field they would succeed in.

The skills you will gain and learn

My volunteer experience at Boone Hospital Center and my ongoing involvement as HOSA Vice President has taught me proper leadership and teamwork skills, allowing me to see the different parts people play in various departments, and connected me to others with similar dreams, who wish to make their dreams a reality. Because of this, I would encourage anyone interested in giving back to the community to volunteer or to join a club relating to something that matters to you, because it will change your outlook on things and will be a meaningful experience that you will not forget.