What Community Service Taught Me as a College Student

Blog post by Desiree Patterson, Serve Denton Student Board Member.

I cannot speak for all college students, but I believe many of us have some kind of meaningful experience during college that inspires us to change the world.

Sometimes though, we may become disheartened by the circumstances and realities around us that seem to limit our ability to influence all of the people, societies and institutions that make up the world. That is not to say none of us will make an impact for the benefit of many because that can still happen. However, what I think we sometimes miss that we can impact the world in which we live in through the immediate world around us—our community.

The Big Lesson

Reflecting back on my time as an undergraduate college student, I think about the many organizations and programs I had the opportunity to serve. I have a lot to be grateful for because the time I spent with these organizations taught me many skills. And many of these skills I can apply to future organizations I serve as well as my education, and later my career.

Two Important Takeaways

By serving my community through a handful of its organizations and programs, I believe the most important skills I have been able to refine are my interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and communication. I have come to understand that no one can accomplish a project alone.

Each member of a team has an integral role and a unique set of strengths that contributes to the success of the project and the group as a whole. I have also learned how to effectively communicate. For example, I served as the president of a student organization on the Texas Woman’s University campus. During this experience, I acted as a liaison between our national office and my officer board. Part of my responsibility was to reach out to individuals I had never met at our national office and communicate to my officers what we needed to accomplish. Then, I further had to delegate specific tasks to each one so we could ensure we fulfilled our responsibilities. This was necessary if we wanted to maintain our status with the national office as well as with our university.

In all my experiences with various organizations, I had to initiate conversations with people I did not know. I had to show up, learn what I was expected to accomplish and learn about the mission of the organization in order to fulfill my role.

Next Steps for Community Service

Many times I have shared with others about the organizations I serve, and still do. I believe by sharing about my service experiences, it educates those around me and hopefully encourages them to invest in those organizations, too.

I have been able to be a part of the change within my world by directly and indirectly participating in the efforts of the organizations and programs within my community.

It may not be on a national or international level, but it is taking place at home and in my opinion, there is nothing more worthwhile than making your home a better place.

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About Desiree Patterson

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Desiree Patterson is originally from the Little Elm/Frisco area. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, graduated as an Honors Scholar, and is now a Master’s student in the Exercise & Sports Nutrition program at Texas Woman's University. She also works as a student assistant at TWU and participates in research that analyzes metabolic effects of exercise and effects of various supplements on metabolism.