As semester Fall 2012 is close to reaching the end of its road, many Busn200 students are about to complete their service hours. This is a good time to look back at what you have accomplished and revise what you are still looking to gain out of your service.
Students who come to Busn200 carry a variety of learning objectives and possess different skills and experiences. Even attitudes vary among them: some start Busn200 with excitement and enthusiasm, while others begin doing it only with the aim of fulfilling another requirement. With large diversity in personal skills, majors, goals, or even hobbies, I believe every single student has walked a very unique path. That path was not paved merely by the Busn200 Center or by a supervisor at a non-profit, but the student themselves. Busn200 is unique among all business courses to the extent that it provides a student the opportunity not only to learn or improve a certain set of knowledge, skills and attitudes, but also to discover his or her own self. When one realizes that in this course he himself decides what to learn and how to learn them, along his service will he recognize that the process is also about exploring himself: defining what he possess and what not, knowing what he wants, understanding his characters, affirming his values, etc. Last fall, a student named Matthew Hartmann inspired me by his experience with Busn200. Through discussion with him at class and reading his journals, I gained a new perspective on the nature and outcomes of Busn200. Following is one of his journals where he talks about his accomplishments by the end of his service:
“I have accomplished, in some way, all of my learning objectives. I have gained so much more beyond my learning objectives as well, and that is what has brought me to conclude that what I originally set out to accomplish in my service hours was not an unrealistic goal of mine. It was easily met, and it has taught me that through laying the expectations out before the journey begins, it makes that much easier to accomplish them in the end. I am finding myself mush more satisfied than I thought I would be after completing my business 200 requirement, and even on that it’s not a requirement; it should be called an opportunity. But, I now look at myself as a more defined, better-rounded business professional. I have even incorporated some of my new knowledge and ideas into my current job. Right now I am seeing positive returns from this, and I hope that it continues. This all boils down to one point—Volunteering is a way to learn about what you are missing in other work environments. This means you begin to appreciate everything and everyone working around you, there is no taking a selfish route, but it is necessary to be able to adapt to new situations as to better yourself and your organization. Trying to say what I have learned about myself is fairly easy after going through Business 200. The things I notice the most about myself is the way I approach every situation now. I no longer am timid, I am not stressed, but rather I am more relaxed and “with the flow.” This makes, not only my work life, but also my personal life that much more stress free. I am finding things to be more humbling and less burdensome. I like the new me. Now, I am saying I am this newly renovated Matt Hartmann, but on a internal, emotional level I am seeing that I am handling the different aspects of day to day life very different than what I normally would have. I am sure as the main driver of this change, and I wish one day I will be able to trace it back to Value Village.
Today’s Society is filled with business professionals with blinders on, forcing them to focus on one thing: money. This is the sad reality that I was once directed towards. I was told to get a good paying job, support a family, do well in my career, and earning myself and my organization a lot of money. That was the painted picture I had for ‘success.’ I think this painting should be repainted. Repainted to show the smiles, the laughs, and the hard working physical labor that goes into so many non-profits organizations in order to make them a success. It is not about the money. It’s about the service… We are so focused on the issue of money that we are starting to lose sight of the true driver of the money, and that is the people on the other end of our business. Without them, there is no money, so I think it is about trying to make a difference in their lives, and stop being so absent minded to the needs of others. The picture should so an all around self-confident business professional who holds themselves with poise, all while supporting their community, not just their wallet.”
By Bob Ta, BUSN200 Facilitator