This I Believe

Ashley - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

In an age when efficiency and hustle make up the important aspects of most of our daily lives, I believe in the importance of volunteering. For a person to truly understand the great potential of the life that lies before them, they must first understand how essential the human element is to having a well-rounded life philosophy. Contemporary education, particularly when centered on business, is continually expanding while maintaining a tight focus on the “bottom line” and improving previously existing methods of interaction. The problem with this lies in the implicit lack of human interaction in a time when artificial intelligence is replacing human employees. Based on this revolution, I feel it is imperative to keep an element of humanitarianism in our lives as often as possible.

I’ve seen this practice employed first hand in my own life. As a business student at a well-known university, I’ve used some of my spare time to work with mentally and physically disabled high school students. This was something that has been instilled in me since childhood, due to my grandmothers being teachers with one doubling as a teacher’s assistant in a special education classroom. I have been continually amazed by the simplistic and innocent view of the world that these students possess. My visits with them not only remind me of how lucky I am to have the facilities that I do, but also serve as a reminder that there are still very simple things in the world that can invoke pure and unquestionable happiness regardless of how rushed life may seem. Without asking anything in return, these students provide me with glimpses of life without hatred, remorse, or regret. Considering the state of current affairs, I consider this a precious gift for which there is little I can do to repay or reciprocate with the exception of simply giving them my time.

It is these simple exchanges which keep me grounded in a world full of expense accounts and bottom lines. A business student I may be, but a droid I am not. I share my time willingly and enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly believe that anyone who does the same can truly benefit from a “view from the bottom”. While I will be the first to admit that it is more common today than ever to find a colleague who came from a less-fortunate background than ones own, there are also many who take too much for granted in their daily lives without realizing it. This is neither an admonishment nor a criticism; rather, it is something that was inherently bred into us by our parents that may never have crossed a person’s mind for lack of experience with anything other than the situation in which they were raised. It is with these thoughts in mind that I share my belief with the rest of you that maintaining a humanitarian view of life is imperative to experiencing life as it was truly meant to be lived.