This semester has been important in my professional development due to my role as a service committee chair for Mount Leadership Society. As a service committee chair, I have coordinated several service events from the initial contact of our service site to the final report for our advisor. I learned how to professionally email our contacts at various service sites. This is a vital school that I will need for the rest of my life, and I am thankful that I have learned this. I have also written lesson plans and budgets for service projects in my role as a service committee chair. In the beginning, I struggled with writing lesson plans because I was not as thorough as I could have been. My advisor made a lot of suggestions to make my lesson plans better, and as I progressed throughout the year, I believe that I have been more thorough in my lesson plans. As a leader for many of our service projects, I have better learned how to lead a group of peers and solve problems that have come up during the service projects. I also learned how to conduct a meeting well. In the meetings, I believe I did a good job keeping everyone on task to make sure it was a productive meeting. There were times this semester when I did not do well in my role. However, I learned from the mistakes I made and throughout the year. As the year progressed, I became a better chair because I learned from my mistakes. I am grateful for this opportunity as I believe it has helped in my professional development.
In June 2016, I travelled to El Salvador with a group from my school to perform service work at COAR (Community Oscar Arnuelfo Romero) and the Cleveland Mission. As we prepared for the trip, I had no idea that it would be one of the most influential experiences of my life. Our mission was to teach English to students at COAR, and help build houses at the Cleveland Mission. As we worked on our mission, I learned about the culture and the lifestyle of Salvadorans. I learned about the danger that Salvadorans live in everyday due to the gang wars between MS-13 and other gangs in El Salvador. I also saw the extreme poverty that millions of Salvadorans live in every day. I was surprised at the condition of the communities that I saw in El Salvador. However, the effect this service trip had an incredible effect on my life After experiencing some of the poorest communities in the world, I began not taking things I have for granted. I realized that having a solid roof over my head, running water, and clean clothes is something that I should never take for granted because there are hundreds of millions of people across the globe who don’t have those luxuries. I learned that I should thank God and thank my parents for everything that they do for me and for putting me in a position where I can succeed. I make sure to pray for those that suffer from absolute poverty so that they may one day have a life full of the same opportunities that I have. This experience also helped me discern that I wanted to become fluent in Spanish so that I can continue to participate in service trips like this and continue to connect with those from other countries. I want to continue to help those who need it the most. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from the Salvadoran people I helped is to persevere no matter what the circumstances may be and always have a smile on your face. All of the children and adults we met always greeted us a smile no matter how bad their living conditions were. I was amazed at the way they went through life despite their unfathomable living conditions. Their perseverance and views on life inspire me to have a more positive view on the world.