James George’15 reflects upon his experience on the New Orleans 2013 service trip.
We are on the last flight back to Harrisburg and everyone is exhausted. We had a great week of service in Slidell.
I have never engaged in this type of service before and I am very thankful for having the opportunity to do so. Before considering going on a Dickinson Service Trip, I sporadically volunteered for other charity organizations and really enjoyed the experiences, but this service trip felt incredibly productive and influential. I loved the group atmosphere and the thoughtful reflection at the end of every day. As an English major, I love to discuss important concepts and ideas. I really enjoyed a lot of the comments and opinions shared in reflection. I felt like everyone took the sessions very seriously and put forth their best effort to push their perspective on the trip and service in general.
Personally, I felt like my perspective on many things have altered throughout the trip; most importantly, service and my Dickinson education.
When I began the trip, I was never surrounded by a group of people that cared very deeply about serving others. I have had friends with similar interests in service but I was never a part of a large group connected by a common goal. It was an amazing experience. Being able to share in a week of service and personal reflection was much needed in my life at this point. Over winter break of this year, I felt compelled to apply for summer jobs/internships and basically figure out my life for the next few years at least. I enjoyed many discussions about study abroad and planning for a productive senior year but I never stopped to breathe. This has been a problem recently – just taking a break and reflecting on the things that really matter to me.
My impression of Dickinson has never been bad – in fact, I rather love it there and I am very grateful to have chosen to enroll. I have experienced a lot and met very interesting people on campus, but engaging with a group of mostly strangers off campus has greatly changed my perspective of Dickinson. Getting to share this great experience with peers and administrators at my own college is ideal because it created an open dialogue about typical Dickinson (college, world, life) problems we are all well aware of. Issues such as social environment, academics, policy, and others were given a lot of thought. I really enjoyed getting an intimate look at perspectives of such a diverse group of students.
After gaining so many positive experiences and relationships on this trip, I feel motivated to fully engage my college community, my local community, and my many future communities in a new and passionate way. I am ready to take every interaction and opportunity head on and gain everything I can from it.
I know it is thanks to this trip that my true Dickinsonian spirit has been more fully realized. I feel compelled to share this enthusiasm and experience to further inspire explorations, growth, and engaged outlooks at Dickinson.
Thank you to everyone on the trip and to everyone that made the trip possible! I love you guys!