Picture this. You are a prospective student on campus for the first time. You are swarmed with information about classes, programs, majors, and residential halls. You walk through the center of campus and through what seems like hundreds of students representing different clubs. A little afraid and a little excited you look at all the options in front of you.
Someone comes up to you and starts to just talk. They ask you where you are from and how you are doing. They want to help you and answer any questions you have. They talk to you and help you feel a little less overwhelmed. The friendly face and patience in the madness helps you feel at home on the chaotic campus.
This was what my first SLC experience was like. They asked me my interests and suggested I keep them in mind for when I got to campus in 2015. The people I encountered during my first few trips to Lee where often students from SLC and they were the people who made Lee feel like home from the very start.
Being at college, it can be really really hard to not be selfish, like, all the time. You spend everyday learning and asking questions about yourself. Everyone wants to know what you want to do with your life. You spend all this time growing and focusing on you. You don’t have your family with you. Your whole life revolves around you.
For me, SLC pulls me out of the orbit of my own selfishness.
I care about the people in our organization and in this community. It taught me to be less judgmental of others and to put them before myself. I have learned that whether someone is in a greek club or homeless they deserve to be loved and to be shown mercy. I am learning humility and servant leadership. I am learning that literally taking the trash out and speaking at a conference should be done by the same people. Being a leader doesn’t make you too good for the little things, in fact, it makes you responsible for them.
It’s the people as much as the work. I could go on and on about how blessed I am to have the incredible wonderful friends I have made in SLC. I could go on and on about events that I have been to and helped organize. The thing that I love most of all though is the thing I cared about the least when I first joined.
Tonight was Tap Night for all of the greek clubs on campus. SLC helped set up a little mixer for all of the greek clubs so that they could tap their new brothers and sisters and eat together. It was a pretty low key event for us. Other than passing out sandwiches and picking up trash we were just supposed to mingle around and talk to members of the greek clubs. Through out the night we got to watch as they excitedly welcomed new members. The whole thing was both terrifying and energetic.
Eventually everyone left and we all started to clean up. I grabbed a vacuum and started cleaning the floor, something I never pictured myself doing on a Thursday night at college. As I vacuumed I realized that I hadn’t thought about myself all night. After days of obsessing over my own plans and schedules I had finally gone a few hours just admiring the joy and encouragement in the community around me. I admired the sacrifices people were making. All of my energy was directed towards the people I was serving and serving with. And even though all I did was vacuum and talk to people, I realized that it was changing my heart.
So that is why I do SLC. Because at a time in my life where I have permission from culture to make everything about me, SLC reminds me that I am a part of something bigger. That God wants something better for me. That time and time again, joy comes from the grit and hard work that comes from true community.
Because SLC is a family and it is shaping me to become the leader that God has called me to be.