Reporter Column: A Very Special 10-day Experience
Reporter Column: A Very Special 10-day Experience
  • Reporter Song Geun-seok
  • 승인 2023.02.17 22:09
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Reporter Song Geun-seok

 After the second semester, I visited a nursing home nearby and spent a total of 64 hours over a 10 day period working two to eight hours every day. Before this voluntary service, (which I acknowledge that such voluntary services are meaningful and contributive to society), I thought it was kind of a waste of time and rewardless. So, it was my first time visiting this kind of facility, and the very reason I took part in it was not that I wanted to be of help to old people, but I simply needed some community service hours urgently.
 The nursing home consisted of three floors, and I spent most of my time on the first floor. The people on the first floor were mostly over 80 years of age and physically disabled, but mentally fit except for a few with senile dementia. My main job was to stick by their side to prevent them from falling or having any incidents. Honestly, this kinds of physical work was not so difficult but just tedious. In fact, all I had to was to check their status every 20 minutes and see if there was anything uncomfortable. Usually, most of them just sat on a sofa. What really made my time here difficult, though, was dealing with those few mentally unfit people. There was one old lady who thought that I was her husband and another old man who kept on asking me the same question for more than an hour. I could not get used to this situation of dealing with these old people with a five-year-old-like mentality. 
 Ironically though, watching such old mentally unfit people, I felt relieved that my grandparents who are both in their 80s are still in good physical and mental condition, while at the same time, anxious that my family members may become like them in the future. On one hand, I felt pity for the old people here. To me, spending every day at the nursing home seemed to be so tedious, and their lives seemed to be so unproductive and, in more drastic terms, meaningless. Watching myself doing voluntary work with such a mindset, I started feeling guilty and felt as if I was being a hypocrite. Such feelings were not the only takeaways, though; the satisfaction I felt by the fact that I was of great help to the old people felt very worthwhile.
 The short experience at the nursing home provided me with a chance to reflect upon myself. I realized that the people at the nursing home once used to be like me. This way, I realized that I was actually volunteering for the people who potentially mirror my future self. Thinking that I might have provided them a bit of pleasure and maybe a chance to recall their young days. While considering the satisfaction I took away from this experience, I started feeling ashamed of myself who once believed that voluntary service work was useless. Rather, it is a very meaningful activity that benefits both the people in need of help and people like me.
 Thanks to this experience, I was able to learn a spirit of respect for human beings and the priceless value of human rights. Also, I was able to change my mindset and find the unique value of voluntary service. Although I may not be able to spend a lot time volunteering, I will participate in voluntary service when time permits.