All semester, I’ve spent part of my Thursday afternoons as a volunteer in the Emergency Room at Rhode Island Hospital. With next week being Finals Week, this semester is quickly coming to an end, and yesterday, I had my last shift in the ER (until September, that is). Despite the shaky start I had when I began volunteering, it has become something I truly enjoy and I am getting everything I had hoped out of this experience and so much more.
I remember my first day in the ER. It was overwhelming. I was given a quick tour of the hospital and then my first shift began. The whole atmosphere was new to me. I wasn’t used to such a fast-paced environment with people left and right needing medical attention and doctors and nurses scrambling to help people and family and friends of patients anxiously waiting for news of their loved ones. Add to that the fact that I was constantly being asked to take people to various locations throughout the hospital and I didn’t know where anything was (like I said, the tour was brief and the hospital is huge), it was stressful to say the least.
However, volunteering has been one of the best decisions I’ve made as a PC student and I can’t wait to continue in the fall. Even though it is still a stressful environment (it is the ER afterall) and even though it is hard seeing some of the things that you typically see in the ER, overall I have found volunteering to be really fulfilling and a great way to spend my time. As much as I love PC, it’s nice to get off campus and take a break from the craziness of college to serve the Providence community. And not only that, but one of my favorite parts of volunteering has been all of the people I’ve met at RIH. I love the staff, and I love my fellow volunteers – they are all such wonderful people.
I would definitely recommend volunteering to everyone who comes to PC – I am a huge believer in getting involved and I can’t think of a better way to spend your time than by helping others. From helping the sick to serving the hungry, Campus Ministry has a lot of fantastic ways for PC students to serve the Providence community, so if volunteering is something that interests you, Campus Ministry is a great place to look. And, if you’re leaning towards a career in healthcare, I would most certainly advise you to volunteer at a hospital – the environment and the people you meet will really give you an idea of your interests and whether the medical field is right for you.
Reflecting on this past semester, I think it just might be the best semester I’ve had yet, and I know my time as a volunteer has contributed to that. I feel so blessed to call PC my second home, and blessed to attend college in the city of Providence.