With graduation on the horizon, Park Scholar seniors reflect on their time at IC
Saturday, February 15, 2014
By Moriah Petty, '14
The theme for this year’s Park Scholar Saturday Seminar is international aid. Scrutinizing this issue allows us to deconstruct the motivation and effectiveness of aid and how to both think and act critically when it comes to humanitarianism. It is important to see where our “help” causes harm and where it may serve the best purpose.
The issue of help and service is something I reflect on a great deal. We must also think about the best ways to accept help and how to both pay it back and pay it forward. Improving the lives of those around you is one of the most enjoyable things human beings get to experience in life. If I expand the definition of help to encompass a wider interpretation, I can see the many forms of help I have experienced in my time in Ithaca.
Asking for help is often challenging for me to do. Partially due to pride or downright awkwardness. I was lucky to be welcomed into a college community of people that from day one were eager to share ideas, challenge each other, and listen. My fellow Park Scholars and IC peers inspire me through the quality of work they produce and that helps me strive to achieve my own goals. In a large way, it also shapes what those goals are. Conversations with my peers have transformed my level of consciousness and my understanding of my place in the world and I am eternally grateful for that.
Ithaca is far from my home state of Minnesota. Distance from my family has been hard but it also has shown me when to rely on them for help and when to learn to help myself. I’ve discovered how to be independent while staying close to them and relying on their love, support, and counsel.
As I went farther from home on my two semesters abroad, the people I met were tremendously instrumental in influencing how I see the world. I am still not aware of all the ways my travels helped shape who I am today.
Helping in its ideal form is symbiotic. For example, when I volunteer at the Tompkins County SPCA animal shelter I help exercise the dogs and they reciprocate with the wonderful style of puppy love. And whether I was teaching Spanish at Belle Sherman Elementary or media literacy at Ithaca High School last semester, I always felt I learned as much from the students as I taught them. I still think critically about the effectiveness of my community service but I am proud of the work I do and it certainly has made me closer to the local area.
IC professors have helped me gain a breadth and depth of knowledge and ability I could not have imagined before college. Especially those who knew when to teach and when teaching meant facilitating an opportunity for me to pursue knowledge independently. Their advice has helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses and work towards a future where I can put them into practice.
The most valuable help from friends is when you learn together and rely on synergy to reach the goal. I think of academic and professional tasks as well as the miscellaneous personal tasks we help each other with as we all pilot test life as adults. This form of partnership and friendship makes Ithaca a brilliant place to learn and grow.
Next » « Previous