Last Fall, I sat in class and watched as only 5 of the 40 kids in my class raised their hands when our professor asked “Who here knows about the refugee crisis”? Call me naïve but I truly thought that more people knew about what is happening overseas and about the people who are coming into our own community. The Lehigh Valley is the third largest area for Syrian refugees in the entire country. We also receive countless refugees from countries around the world every year. How could people not know this was happening? And more importantly, why didn’t they care? This realization is what prompted me to start this blog where I strive to post consistently (that doesn’t always work out) about the refugee crisis and about other humanitarian issues taking place in the world.
But the decision to start the blog wasn’t all my idea. In fact, I was actually required to start writing a blog for a class that I took that Fall. At the time I was busy and couldn’t fathom making time to write a blog. I had planned to blog about being a student athlete, it was easy and it was safe. But I’ve never liked taking the easy way out and when I heard about the lack of knowledge regarding the refugee crisis I knew that I had found my blog topic.
When I first started writing the blogs were awkward, poorly written and generally uninteresting. I thought I was doing something really cool but honestly I was just putting words on a page without much context. I’ve been able to watch myself mature through this blog. You can see my confidence, knowledge and interest grow in every blog post. My ability to write and research has increased rapidly and honestly, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I think people shy away from saying that they’re proud of their accomplishments and I’m never quite sure why. If you work hard and put in the effort be bold enough to say that you worked hard and put in the effort. Recognize that you’ve done a good job and be proud of it, you deserve it.
This blog has been a gateway to a lot of things for me. I started my own column in the school newspaper called A Global Mind where I write about different issues taking place around the world. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a ten week student guided research internship where I have worked with refugees in both the Lehigh Valley and Germany. And most recently, I’ve started a chapter of the club No Lost Generation at Lehigh.
It’s funny looking back to last Fall when I thought I didn’t have enough time to maintain a blog because I’ve certainly taken on a lot for this Fall. I’m still not sure how I plan to manage it all. Maybe it’ll be a wild success or maybe I’ll crash and burn. But I’m not going to know until I try and trust me, I really hate to fail. So with less than a month till preseason I’m working hard to finish up my internship and then transition the projects we’ve created over to my club. I’m setting up meetings, sending emails and researching organizations all to get prepared for the crazy semester that is to come.
And in all honesty, I’ve never been happier. I thrive on the pressure, I enjoy the dozens of emails and I like the challenge. I recently spent a long time talking to a teammate about what our “thing” is. You know, that one thing that you’re pretty good at and makes you completely and indescribably happy. That thing that you just can’t get enough. For her, it’s exercise. For some it’s their kids, their Netflix account or cooking. For me, it’s this. It’s writing and researching and working to do something bigger than myself. This is my bliss. I am never happier than when I’m sitting at a computer typing furiously about the humanitarian crisis’s that are affecting the world. This is my thing and I can’t thank my journalism Professor enough for assigning a project that has quickly become a large part of my life.