So this was not my first time on a service trip, but it was definitely my first time leading one. It was a really interesting experience!
I LOVED the students we led. Just loved them. They surprised me constantly, and I am so proud to have met every single one of them. I wish I had been that awesome and well-rounded in high school- how different my life would have been! They will all move on to do great things; of this I am absolutely certain.
One of the amazing things I’ve found out about life is that there’s always something to learn; something new to discover. It’s interesting to think of myself as I am now, in that I used to be the girl who would sit in a corner with a book, never speaking, and barely noticing the world going by. When I discovered the things that I was passionate about, I realized I would have to change in order to make a positive impact with those things. But there’s always a middle ground, which is something I’m not very good with in my own life. I’m GREAT at conflict management with other people (read: social worker), but for me… I’m either THE leader, or a follower. I’m either silent, or shouting. I’m either doing nothing, or everything.
So these are things I’m still learning. (Perhaps if I talked to people more as a child, instead of reading, I would have learned these things before! Lol.) As it is… I need to work on communicating with people still. I’m a great listener, but I know I have the tendency to get overexcited about my opinions. I’m getting better at holding my tongue and letting people flush their ideas out; I just get impatient sometimes. Also, I usually get the feeling that if I don’t say my piece right away, it won’t be heard. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like it’s just better/easier if I do what needs to get done so others don’t have to worry about it. This satisfies me because I like doing work and I like knowing it’s done, and other people get to chill. However, I also have the tendency to get overzealous about this as well… So I wind up doing things and not communicating with people, all because it’s easier for me. But that doesn’t mean it’s easier for other people. I need to be more conscious about how my strong work ethic effects others; because it’s not always a good thing.
My biggest struggle seems to still be my trust issues. Every time I think I’m getting better, something comes along and shows me that I’m not quite there yet. I realized a few years ago how they were harming me, but I never before realized that they could harm other people. Which is something that really bothers me. One day I will be better, though. It’s a constant struggle… but maybe one day it won’t be so life-dominating.
I’m really glad I’ll be starting my new child care job soon; I just really love taking care of people. I also really hope I get to lead a college Pay It Forward Tour next spring break. I want to take the lessons I learned on this trip, incorporate them into my life, and see if I can do a better job as a leader next time. I’m disappointed with myself for this one… I want to be better at it and be able to walk away with no regrets. Though… I should never think of a learning experience as something to regret. It is what it is.
I’m taking a lot of really great things away from this trip, which is why I love service trips SO much. Not only is it just something I honestly love in every way, but it also impacts me irrevocably each time. Whenever I walk away from one of these, I walk away a better person. And it’s because of all the people around me who are doing these great things, and the lessons they teach me.