The small village was three hours outside Lilongwe, Malawi. I was with a UNICEF consultant who will give a workshop to the locals. The goal was to teach them about the nutritional benefits of soybeans, show them how to prepare meals using soybeans, and how to extract soymilk from the beans. To do this, we had to live with the farmers and their families. By the end of the workshop, farmers no longer see the plant as animal feed but as a great source of nutrition for their families. Nonetheless, it was not just the local villagers who had to learn from the experience. I, myself, who had to live the simple life gained far more than I had contributed in time and effort. The experience humbled me and I realized that sometimes the smallest things we can do for others are the biggest things they can receive to improve their lives – I just went there to assist and the villagers found a new source of food to answer their hunger; they just showed me their simple living and I already gained a whole new perspective in life. Thus, the experience has given me a uniquely satisfied feeling that comes with accomplishing a goal, which I have found to be beneficially addictive. Hence, I have sought that feeling on a daily basis since.
For instance, a friend of mine found that she was pregnant out of wedlock and her parents kicked her out of the house. Since she had no place to stay, I took her into my home in Maryland during her pregnancy. Fortunately, she found a job with less than ideal hours. After she gave birth, I took care of her son while she focused on her job and established a career. This year she was promoted to a higher position, with a six-figure salary and flexible working hours. She now owns a home and is in a great position to care for her son, who I still see regularly. Her self-confidence has also improved significantly. Though the pressures we both faced and the sacrifices we endured took a toll on my marriage, I still consider the whole experience as one of my proudest.
As I look back to these, I feel blessed to have a comfortable life, supportive family, and good friends. Nonetheless, I have not become comfortable with sitting on the sidelines. That drive in me to get up and do something and the current competitive corporate world excites me and attracted me to the College. Based on what I have read, the College is the perfect place for lovers of life, for the actively inquisitive, and for those willing to serve whenever they can. Hence, whether my contribution would be in the form of time, resources, energy, knowledge, or just being there for a friend in need, I know that I would contribute whatever I can whenever I have the opportunity to do so; this is what I aspire to achieve by joining the College.