Do Not Dread the Opportunity to Volunteer

Getting an email from a coach, advisor, or dean asking you to help volunteer with an event on campus is not always the email a normal college student wants to get. I know I would rather sleep, hang out with friends, or actually do some school work during those precious couple hours you are asked to give up. So, when I got an email from my coach asking me to help with not one, but two events during Inauguration week, I was dreading it.

The first event was a luncheon with the Board of Trustees. I geared up for what I thought was going to be an awkward time carrying on bland conversation about my major, why I absolutely love McDaniel, and how great it is here. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Each student was paired up with a trustee (a bit intimidating). My basketball teammate Steph and I sat at a table together with our members, Dotty and Chris, two women who I will remember for the rest of my life. Once past the bland questions I was already anticipating, things got interesting.

We weren’t asked about how great it is here—we were asked what we completely dislike. I was thrown off. I didn’t want to say anything bad in front of trustees, but they wanted to know everything and that stuck with me.

These women want to make McDaniel a better place for us and they realize there is room to improve. After a while, the conversation began to lighten up: sports, hobbies, and hometowns were all topics we touched on. We began to realize how much in common the Class of ’60 had with us the Class of ’12. Dotty told us about her favorite places on campus and we laughed about the strict rules they had; they had to be back in their dorms by 9 o’clock at night. We don’t ever start activities until after 9 p.m. now. We laughed and explained to them but strangely enough the same things they enjoyed some 40-50 years ago we still enjoy now.

After lunch was over, we exchanged numbers and emails. These ladies were great resources to have and they were more than eager to help us with anything we may need. Saturday came and unlike most students on campus, I was up bright and early with five of my fellow teammates getting ready for what I thought was a rather strange job: ‘robing’ the participants for the inauguration.

I wasn’t exactly sure the proper way to put on those fancy robes and was nervous when told there is an exact way to do it and oh by the way don’t mess up. With no demonstration to help me learn, I was given responsibility of the platform party—the members who were onstage for the ceremony. With no idea what I was doing, I was left in charge of helping President Casey, former President Joan Coley, the President of our Budapest campus and plenty of others. With a smile on my face, I began to fake expertise in the robe department and it was working.

During the hectic hour, I began conversation with many people I would normally have never had an opportunity to talk with. Learning about the extraordinary places they were from and had visited, their jobs and unique facts about them, I was actually enjoying myself.

Once my job was over and the ceremony was about to start, I stood there thinking about the week, all the new people I had met, and the connections that I had made for the future. I thought about the numerous times that I turned down volunteering at “boring” events and all the people I missed out on meeting. I could have met more people like Dolly and Chris. From now on I won’t look at it as volunteering, but as an opportunity— one I won’t pass up again.