January 17, 2018

Higher education and selfless acts of community service

Petula Wright - Higher Education and Selfless Acts of Community Service

I’m a firm believer in college students being involved on their campuses with organizations, study groups and extracurricular activities. I also believe they should take the opportunities to study overseas, get part-time jobs and participate in internships. Some people may think college students are busy enough so they don’t need any additional activities, but those activities hold a two-fold function: 1) Gaining “world” knowledge and experiences as well as 2) Learning selflessness.

It’s the subject of selflessness that prompted me to write this post (and a similar one on my personal blog, It’s a woman’s world!). If you’ve been following along here you know I’m the parent of four children with the oldest being almost 20 years old. That honor has given me the distinct title of being the “first-time college mom.”

Having a young adult daughter who is a college student has been quite a learning experience for me. Not only am I acquiring some more higher education knowledge; I’m also learning more about my daughter – as an adult. It’s a well-known fact that I am extremely proud of her. She’s a ray of sunshine and she’s a caring, loving and selfless person. I’ve always known that, but she continues to surprise me with the things she does. Recently, she surprised me again when she asked me to come down to her school for Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s event to raise money for cancer research and to make a difference in the lives of those who have it, have had it and their loved ones. Amber explained to me that the Relay for Life event goes on throughout the night to relay the fact that cancer doesn’t sleep… it doesn’t take a break. So true; I know. Cancer, for me, has always been on the outskirts of my brain and that’s where I like to keep it. I guess it’s denial.

Years ago I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which – simply put – is a cancer of the bone. (If you’re interested you can read more about my health challenges at It’s a woman’s world! where I put up health and weight loss journal posts.) I don’t think of myself as having cancer and I don’t say I have cancer. I just don’t believe in labeling myself that way. I do say I have been diagnosed and the doctors believe I am in remission. I’m telling you all of that because Amber also asked me to write a post about Relay for Life, which got me to thinking about my own situation.

When I went to her team page, where it explains about the event and cause as well as requests support and donations, I was inspired to join in. (Yes, please click the donations link to support the cause and help Amber raise money for Relay for Life. Thanks.) Now, I’m not just going to support my daughter and walk with her, I’m a part of her Relay for Life team to support the American Cancer Society as a survivor. And that’s okay.

As a matter of fact, that’s fabulous. Not only did Amber help me to realize my own mental issues when it comes to cancer, but she showed me the selflessness of participation, the generosity of individuals and the healing affect something like this can have.

Whatever you tell your student about college be sure to add advice on being involved in community service projects, organizations and other activities that will expand their knowledge and empathy for the world around them. It’s a lesson we can all learn on an ongoing basis. I’m also proud to say even my younger children are doing their part: My youngest daughter raised money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and participated in the Trik-a-thon at her school and my two middle children are collecting money for the March of Dimes.

It doesn’t matter what we do; it just matters that it’s a selflessness act.

About the Author: Petula Wright (23 Posts)

Petula Wright has about 17 years experience as an editor and writer who has written and provided editorial services for publications, organizations and individuals. Based in the Atlanta area, she continues to write web content and maintain her blog It’s a woman’s world at PetulaW.com. She says, “Writing is a joy and not a job.” If you need a writer or editor, she can be reached at petulawrites@comcast.net.

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