Andrew Pops The Bubble
Alongside the awesome new contributor to this blog, Noel, I will also be a new contributor and doing my best to try and spread the love and inform you guys about all the cool things going on in Hamilton, and how to get involved whether its via volunteering, learning about civic issues, or exciting new events coming up.
To start I’ll introduce myself and give you a little background story of how I got involved and how this involvement has impacted me throughout my journey at McMaster. My name is Andrew Forbes, I’m currently a 5th year Kinesiology student and I first got involved with McMaster’s Student Success Center in my 2nd year when I blindly signed up for what sounded like a cool trip offered by the SSC’s MacServe Reading Week program. I had no idea what this trip had in store, but I couldn’t have been happier about taking the risk to sign up!
This service learning program focused on the relationship between community engagement and utilizing music as an agent for social change. Throughout reading week, I had the opportunity to work alongside an incredible group of about 10 others musically talented individuals, we performed for different organizations who serviced individuals including elderly homes, youth shelters, and food banks. More important than the service part of the trip was the learning aspect. Each night we were able to reflect on the series of events we had experienced throughout the day. We discussed the things we noted, things that surprised us or were unexpected, the things we saw that taught us something about ourselves and our common and differing perspectives on a variety of issues. At the core of these experiences and reflections was that we were all there ready and willing to engage in action for social change!
On top of the service and learning experience of the trip, another aspect of the program which has made a huge impact on me were the types of people I met on the trip. These individuals were arguably the most caring people I’ve ever met in my life, not only were they passionate and ambitious but continually strived to make a positive difference for others. Not surprisingly from the group of 10 or so, 3 of the students have already gone to exciting endeavors such as being accepted into Medical School and graduate studies, some of the other students are finishing up their undergrad studies now and are promising candidates for wherever they decide to aim their efforts next.
The service, the learning and the people of the trip not only made the program’s week long experience an incredible adventure and opportunity for self-growth, but the lessons learned have since stuck with me and have led me to push myself out of my comfort zone to get more involved in others areas that I feel passionate about. For example, in my third year, it encouraged me to apply and be selected for an Exec position of the McMaster Friends of MSF club in addition to studying abroad in Spain. In my 4th year this civic engagement bug pushed motivated me to apply and get selected for the 4th year Kinesiology Rep position, and take on the role of Assistant Team Leader for the MacServe Reading Week Trip in Hamilton that year.
Now it’s led me to here, being apart of the Student Success Leader’s Civic Engagement unit, where I’ve somehow convinced myself to put my horrendous writing skills to the test and see if I can somehow convince folks that civic engagement issues are not only interesting but very relevant to our lives. All of these opportunities stemmed from a split moment decision when I took a chance on a cool sounding trip to get involved in Hamilton and learn about the place I’ve called home while at McMaster.
Well I’m exhausted from just having to write that amount of words, so I’ll leave you folks with that for now. Looking forward, I’m extremely excited to do my best to share with you the cool events going on in Hamilton, and the awesome and plentiful opportunities that are waiting just outside our doorstep (i.e. bubble), we call McMaster.
Cheers and ‘til next time,
Kin Student trying to pull off an eloquent English scholar