I came to the University of Michigan from suburban Indianapolis without much of an idea of what I wanted to do there. My problem was not that I didn’t like any subject, club, or activity, but more of the opposite, I wanted to try every single thing the school had to offer. During the first semester of my freshman year, I signed up for classes about Astrophysics, Imagination, and one called “When Earth Attacks”, and if that wasn’t enough I went to the call out meetings of eleven clubs in my first two weeks at school. Each class and activity seemed just as exciting as the next, but by the end of my freshman year I started to find a few that I kept coming back to. The first activity I fell in love with in college was Ultimate Frisbee. I joined the University of Michigan Ultimate Frisbee team my first semester of college and I immediately knew I was going to play whenever I could. The constant movement and creativity got me hooked on the sport, and I played at Michigan each of my four years. My other venture that I spent most of my time on in college was working in and around my community. I took a community service learning class my second semester of freshman year and from there volunteered in whatever capacity I could. Over the course of my four years I volunteered for the Ann Arbor Parks Department, the University of Michigan Hospital System, the Dearborn School system, the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, and I even spent a summer doing epidemiological research in rural Ecuador with the School of Public Health. These last two experiences are the reason I signed on to be a National Health Corps member for the 2018-2019 year.
To me the most memorable and moving part of my community service experiences was meeting various people in my community and in other communities and listening to their narratives. By hearing what they had to say about themselves and their own lives, I felt as if I was able to peer into a world that I had little to no experience in before. I was able to gain a better grasp on the issues that I was working on and put a face and name to the work that I was doing. This is what I am looking forward to most during my service term. I am looking forward to meeting new people in new communities and listening to what they have to say about themselves and the community around them, so that I can gain a more comprehensive understanding about the place and the issues I will be working in and on this year.
This blog post was written by 2018-19 NHC Chicago member Noah Lybik.
Noah is an Outreach Coordinator at Northwest Side Housing Center.