Inspired to Serve
With college in the rear view and the rest of life ahead, this in-between spot can be a bit overwhelming. It’s the perfect breeding ground for post grad depression. I know, it isn’t the most beautiful introduction you’ve ever read. But the truth is, so many recent college graduates suffer from spouts of depression. I consider myself fortunate to have had an opportunity lined up afterwards, and to be surrounded by such a deep sense of community within my cohort, the UNC School of Government, and my jurisdiction – Clinton. Still, impostor syndrome crept up on me like the Ghost from Christmas Past.
In the months following my graduation, my alma mater experienced 6 losses on campus. This was just the first semester back. It triggered memories of me finding out we had lost a classmate and one of my really good friends to suicide. It’s no secret that college is a challenge. As a young, black, female, first-generation college student from a low income community, I experienced my fair share of challenges just by deciding to attend college. But I came to the realization that college just does something to you mentally, regardless of your background. Late nights and early mornings get old really quick. So, in the midst of my depression, I felt inspired to serve.
Adopt a College Student is a fancy name for an age old concept. In the same way that we gather for the holidays to send care packages to our troops overseas, I got the idea that we could do the same for college students—but on a more consistent basis. Students can sign up to receive care packages, letters, monetary donations, and weekly motivational messages and volunteers can sign up to help with all of the above. The ultimate goal is to assist with basic necessities so they can focus more on making amazing grades and advancing to where they want to be in life without being crippled by debt.
Everything about growing up in a small town has taught me the value of community, and “back in the day” people would say it takes a village. I guess you could say this is me going back to my roots. While I know care packages won’t solve all the problems that students face, I’m hoping it will give them the push they need to keep going. In essence, I am making an attempt to be the change I wish to see. In the words of Journey, “I’m just a small town girl” that won’t stop believing. And if my service inspires someone else to serve, then it will all be worth it.