In life, there’s always a negative and a positive perspective. In the past, I saw every good situation as good and every bad situation as bad. Then I became involved with the Student Council and the Leadership For Social Change Program here at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). That’s when everything changed!
What I once saw as bad situations, I started seeing as potential learning opportunities. The key to
shifting your perspective is to remember what
you’re aiming for and I would like to
tell you a story about me that highlights that changing your perspective makes all the difference. This is a very personal piece, and I’m hoping that in the process of shaping my reader’s opinions on the importance of hunger awareness, that my own will not be repeated.
Lessons Are Everywhere. Focus on the Lesson, Not The Problem.
When I was ten years old, I went to bed hungry often. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. And I’ll admit, I blamed everyone else in the world for putting me in that situation. There were other kids on my street that were having the same experiences, but no one ever spoke about it. As a community, there was no awareness of this hunger that everyone was experiencing.
Since having that experience as a kid, I have trained myself not to confront hunger. As just the thought of it makes me extremely depressed and talking about it makes me feel awkward. So, it was no surprise that when the idea of hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet (an interactive event that brings hunger and poverty issues to life) as part of USG’s Civic Engagement Series was proposed to the Student Council, I was the first not to be on board with it. My immediate thought was that the event was counterintuitive. Ending world hunger is impossible I said to myself. It is just something people say because it sounded selfless. And this is America, this problem of hunger is far away.
Remember to be a human being, not just a human doing.
Through the efforts of the amazing team of students on the Student Council and the various lessons in the Leadership Program For Social Change, I was able to change my perspective. And now, I am told I am like the poster child for hosting a Hunger Banquet. Here is how this drastic change came about:
- USG Student Council: fellow council members allowed me to share my honest opinions about the event, provided no judgment on my views and then dedicated time and effort to educate me on the event, its goals, and its purpose (see details here). The previous belief that I held about this kind of event reinforcing or exacerbating stereotypes we often hold about people living in poverty were acknowledged. Through discussions, I realized that hunger and poverty are real and it is impossible to ignore the problem when we are all sharing the same resources.
- Leadership Program for Social Change: The model enriched my knowledge through various lessons that allowed me to have a better understanding of self within the context of a community. As a result, I am more socially conscious and dedicated to empowering others, as well as myself.
So now that I am 110% on board with the Student Council hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, I would like to encourage all of you to attend. See flyer for details.The banquet is meant to give a new perspective on hunger issues and it is also intended to be an interactive and reflective experience designed to motivate participants to do something to help.
If you feel like you won’t be learning anything from it, or if you feel like I did in the past about it, that’s fine, there is no harm in attending. If you look at the previous paragraphs, nothing physical changed with me. The only thing that changed was my perspective, and that makes all the difference. So join us on November 15th and help change the way that USG talks about hunger. RSVP here.