Participating in your community often carries with it the notion of volunteer work. Whilevolunteered time and effort is extremely needed and treasured, you can contribute to your community in many other ways.
Many Harding students have jobs — some by choice, others out of necessity. Between working at a job and classes, there is typically not time for much else. Some working students might allow that reality to make them feel guilty — like they are not doing enough. They hear of events, organizations and volunteer work that they see great meaning in, but cannot fathom how they could fit one more thing into their schedules.
To the working students: You are just as much a part of the community as those who are volunteering — if not more. We need you and are proud of you. You are providing a good or a service in your community, while working alongside your Searcy neighbors — getting to know them, at the same level. If you feel guilty because you cannot fit in one more thing — don’t. There will be seasons in which your community needs you to be one of the volunteers, but it is alright if this one is not it. The way you carry yourself and interact with others in your paid position matters just as much as those who have time to volunteer. The way you carry yourself at your place of work matters. Your workplace becomes the common ground for Harding and Searcy locals and shapes the way each sees the other.
Most of us are in college to prepare for the job we will have in the future. We pursue a job because 1) it is a way to use our talents to contribute to the world, and 2) is a way to support our livelihood or someone else’s. The students who currently have jobs have a bit of a jump start on what they are working toward in college. Your college job may not be anywhere near the field that you hope to pursue after earning your degree, but it is simply outside of the bubble, which produces a clearer understanding of the world in which you will one day be working.
Students who work, volunteer or solely study are all participating in something noble — as long as the work is not entirely selfish. All of the time takers that I mentioned can benefit your community if others become your focus. Those with a deep knowledge of their subjects can use it to produce helpful information for their community. Those who volunteer give people a multitude of opportunities without being bothered by monetary concerns. Those of you who work are using your time to help provide goods and services to your community while learning the responsibility of supporting yourself.
It is easy for working, volunteering and studying to become entirely about ourselves. However, if you find yourself in that spot, it is not too late to redirect. College presents fertile learning grounds for managing so many different aspects of life — use it.