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Finding the Moment

Amelia Browning (Senior)


Someone recently asked me what it means to perform service. Interestingly enough, I could not respond right away. I stood there, thinking of an answer that describes a term I have used my entire life. My first though: Service means so many things. It means to help others, to do something for someone else. Every definition I could think of seemed wrong. It seemed, for lack of a better world, blah.


How does one person describe a word that means so much? It holds a weight that seems, well, unmeasurable. So, I stopped, and I cleared my mind of everything I knew. The result, honestly, is not anything novel. I am sure someone, somewhere could describe service in a way far more impactful and imaginative than me. Nevertheless, I am happy I found something that speaks to me.

The short answer: Service describes a moment, a moment where something, everything, seems different.  Sometimes, the impact does not hit right away. It might take a day, a week, a month, or maybe a year to fully understand the impact of such a moment. But once the moment hits, it hits with a force larger than life. I cannot describe the exact sensation, but it makes one stop and appreciate everything around her or him. It is amazing. It is awe inspiring. It is life changing.


The best moments develop from a passion. Now, this part is tricky. It seems so simple, right? Recognize the passion, and then act on the passion. The part I struggled with was finding the right outlet for my passion. Picture the involvement fair freshman year. Walking in, looking around, and seeing what seems like 500 million people offering an invitation to join their student organization. Everyone seems so nice, so inviting…how will I ever choose? Then, it happens. The right table, with the right mission, and BAM.


I found lots of student organizations that aligned with my passion to help others. (I also signed-up for every student organization I talked to, and I still receive all the emails. One day I will actually go sailing with PSU Sail, because their emails are awesome. Seriously.) Despite all of the organizations being amazing in their own ways, none of them clicked. It was not until sophomore year that I truly experienced the BAM. It happened all at once. I found two student organizations that would change my entire college experience, and, quite honestly, my view of the world.


Empower Orphans was one of those organizations. Not only did I meet incredible people with the kindest of spirits and the largest of hearts, but I found an organization that translated my passion into the moments I have come to love. From watching elementary school children eager to donate warm clothes to those in need, to hearing of children’s joy to gain new books in their library, EO has filled my final years at Penn State with moments I will never forget.

Currently, I sit at the cusp of graduation. Four years ago, I told myself not to be the senior that bestows their elderly advice, but, atlas, I will. To anyone with a passion for service, go out and help others find their moments. The moments when something wonderful happens. When people smile brighter and laughter becomes contagious. Then, ask yourself, what does it mean to perform service?