Why Passions Matter
Blogger: Claudia Dumpson
Hi everyone! As the end of the semester dwindles down (AH!), I’m starting to settle into my classes and get into the swing of things. Took me long enough. Anyway, as I’ve been settling in, one thing that has really stuck out to me is the realization that the things I’ve always enjoyed can be turned into academic, social, and professional opportunities. My first year was about settling in and exploring my options, academically and socially - this year is about deciding what I want and what I’m going to do about it.
In high school, I did a lot of volunteer work with non-profit organizations looking to alleviate homelessness and provide resources for the homeless community. The issues surrounding homelessness and poverty have been really important to me, and I’ve loved every experience I’ve had working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
More recently, I’ve been tutoring young kids, especially those in underserved communities. Specifically, I’ve been interested in why these communities are so underserved and what we can do to fix that.
This photo is of me in high school volunteering at an extremely underserved summer school called Kingsley House in New Orleans.
Registration is this week, and being that I’m almost done with my CORE requirements, I decided that I would experiment a bit with the spring semester. In doing so, I’ve found some really promising classes that touch on a few of my main interests. Specifically, there are two that really showed me that my passions do have an academic basis. Children, Poverty, and Public Policies in the CTSJ (Critical Theory and Social Justice) department has to do directly with my interest in homelessness and poverty. Socio-Cultural Foundations of Education in the Education department touches almost exactly on the aspects of education that interest me the most.
I’m also beginning to realize how my passions can turn into career paths. Through the CDC (Career Development Center), I’m applying for a job shadowing program called WIMS Away. If I get accepted, I’ll be shadowing a public policy organization in Berkeley, California called The Greenlining Institute that focuses on racial justice. Specifically, one Oxy alum working there is working to see that the Affordable Care Act reaches people of color. Though this only provides me with a couple days of shadowing, just in completing the application, I’ve realized that because of what I’m passionate about, I would definitely enjoy working at a company like the Greenlining Institute.
I’ve never had a direct academic or professional pathway that I’ve wanted to take - I’ve always just liked stuff. Now, I’m starting to realize - wait, this thing that I really like, I can do something with it? And that’s really exciting.