How are YOU going to make the most of your university experience at SFU?

November 30, 2020

By Ramat Abdulrazaq

Here is the story of a first-year student who decided to take on chances by volunteering with Racing Readers despite being faced with two uncertainties at the same time: with the new learning environment and virtual volunteering.

Ethan demonstrates his passion for giving back to the community. Ethan was previously volunteering with racing readers at SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre before the lockdown March 2020 commenced. He emphasizes that it’s so important to give back to the community even when situations might seem uncertain. He says, it’s always fun and exciting to grab opportunities when they knock at your door as you never know when your fear and uncertainty may turn into your strength.

At the Racing Readers program, volunteers get the opportunity to teach young children and provide them with the necessary support needed to build resilience and ease their transition to secondary schools. Ethan is surrounded with so much help from both his parents and community and therefore he saw it as a need to help other kids learn. Ethan decided to become a teacher because he wants to educate other kids and give back to his community. In order to become a teacher, Ethan knew it was necessary to gain valuable experience to figure out whether he would prefer to teach elementary school students or secondary school students.

Ethan had started volunteering for Racing Readers during his last year of secondary school and had to put a stop to it because of the pandemic. After Ethan got his acceptance letter into SFU Fall 2020, he knew this was an opportunity to continue volunteering with Racing Readers being the committed person that he is.

Despite being a first-year student transitioning to online learning, Ethan still decided to continue volunteering with racing readers but this time in a digital format. He said he felt quite unsure at first, but his uncertainty soon turned into his strength. He saw this virtual volunteering as an opportunity to explore new methods of teaching and also get prepared for the future since virtual learning might be the new normal.

Balancing schoolwork being a first-year student with virtual volunteering was definitely hard and overwhelming sometimes, Ethan says. However, the volunteering reminded him as to why he was in school to begin with, which is to help educate other kids. This allowed him to stay true to his core value which is giving back to the community. Also, knowing that his parents and friends were always there for him, helped him out through the difficult times.

Ethan says reflecting on his volunteer experience as of now he has definitely learnt to adapt to different situations. Being able to adapt to virtual volunteering is undoubtedly worthwhile for him as he gets opportunities to explore new mediums of teaching, from creating videos to moderating chat on zoom.

If you are interested in making the most of your experience at SFU then get involved with SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre