This is a guest post by Julie Singer, who teaches us, among other things, something we’ve discussed before: one of the great sources of happiness is helping others.
As a college student, at times you can feel like you have no control over anything. It may be your emotions, your grades, your friendships/relationships, but I’ve learned the importance of living in the moment, in that day, and realizing that everything is and will be okay.
As an education major, I have extreme and never-ending passion for working with students, especially students/individuals with intellectual disabilities. I was hired this year, my sophomore year of college, by the Arc of Chester County in the Recreation Department. As a rec worker, I interact with adults with disabilities every Wednesday night and weekends.
The events are always fun for me, and the clients absolutely love it. For example, we saw the Harlem Globetrotters in Philly, spent a day at Hershey Park, and went on a hayride in the fall. We also have dances at the Arc for many holidays including Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patty’s Day.
These days, it seems as though members of our society cannot live without our phones for more than an hour. I am guilty of conforming to the stereotype: the lightning speed texting, always checking my phone, etc.; but at the Arc, I refrain. After getting used to the job, the routine, and my duties, I made it a habit to leave my phone in my supervisor’s office.
Whenever I walk into the Arc to work, I leave whatever is going on in my life at that time behind me. I do this because I’m there for my clients. I’m there to encourage them to interact and socialize with their friends, to be independent, and to reach certain personal goals.
But there’s another reason I put down my phone: I find when I go to the Arc, I’m always inspired. There is never a moment where I don’t think about how lucky I am to have a voice, to have a supportive and loving family, and to be able to step back and appreciate what I have.
Whether it’s Hershey Park, a visit from the local nature center, or a dance, the joy and happiness emitting from my clients is constant. Many of my clients have grown up going to the Arc events, and therefore have friends at the Arc. They live for seeing their friends, dancing and laughing all night, and this delight is contagious. These amazing individuals, who could have horrible attitudes based on their challenges, have the time of their life when they interact with their lifelong friends at the Arc.
It is amazing that at such a young age I feel so connected to this aspect of education. I am beyond blessed to learn so much from my clients each week—about life or about myself.
I’m blessed to be able to work with amazing people who are challenged by life’s events each and every day and when I think of them, and the joy they find in the smallest things, it gives me the chills. I know I have the right to be selfish and sad at times; but I can always remind myself it’s not the end of the world and it will be okay.
What are your experiences? Join the conversation with your comments…