Recently I was down in New Orleans, Louisiana for the wedding of one of my sorority sisters from college. In between doing a second-line parade down Canal Street and shoving my face with the most delicious cake I’ve ever eaten, I had some down time to meet up with a friend of mine that is doing a year of service in New Orleans. After graduating high school he deferred his enrollment to a 4-year institution out west and moved to an economically distressed neighborhood in New Orleans, mainly caused by Hurricane Katrina. After growing up in the comforts of the Chicago-land suburbs, his new environment was an adjustment, but he is learning something new every day and has come to appreciate what he has and what he has been given in life.
Post-graduate service is an option for students after finishing college and before going out and finding their first job. This is a viable option if you are looking to serve others or to gain a better understanding of the world. There are practical and personal benefits to doing a year of service. Development of leadership skills, cultural education, gaining a better insight into oneself, and work for social justice are just some of the intangible benefits one can gain from volunteering. There are also some tangible benefits as well including student loan deferment, paid room and board, and resume building/work experience that can not only help with a job search later, but also with admission to graduate school. Check out our list of post-graduate service organizations at: http://www.marquette.edu/csc/undergraduate/joblistings.shtml#Non .There are dozens of organizations to fulfill any interest.
While I think of my friend spending 12-hour days helping build houses for families that have lost everything in the wake of a natural disaster, I know he is growing personally through the experience of caring and giving of his hands and heart. He will hopefully bring back the mentality of the importance of creating strong partnerships and aligning with the needs of his community, whether that is to campus next fall or to his first job after graduation.