Growing up, you likely experienced feelings of uncertainty and indecisiveness that were inextricably linked to discussions of college and your future. Eventually, somehow, things worked out OK and you ended up here at UC Berkeley. For many of us first-generation students and for those without older siblings or cousins, our journeys may even feel a bit miraculous.
Still, though, regardless of who you are or where you came from, we can all attribute our success to a trusted figure — whether that figure takes the form of a parent, trusted teacher or guidance counselor or even a close friend. Wouldn’t it be nice to provide that support for someone who is in the same place you were a few years ago?
We’ve compiled a couple of resources to help you give back to the community — namely, to help kids learn about what college is like and how to explore diverse fields of study and professions.
Spread the word about and volunteer at events in science
The East Bay Academy for Young Scientists is a space for young scientists from low-income communities to hone their talents and explore their interests. Check out its website for ways to volunteer! Also check out the Lawrence Hall of Science events page for community events and listings for other local events that may need volunteers to engage young students in the field of science. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is hosting a Nuclear Science Day on March 21 to teach teenage Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts about the field of nuclear engineering and more!
Participate in local student organizations and club-hosted events
Like you, there are probably a lot of other students on campus interested in engaging the youth community! Look into clubs that have connections to local schools or host undergraduate student panels for high schoolers, and you may be able to sign up as a volunteer! Also, the UC Berkeley Society of Women Engineers hosts a variety of events catered to students from kindergarten to 12th grade, including a programming class, overnight host program with the College of Engineering and more! Check ‘em out.
Visit a local school with your colleagues
Often times, a little inspiration is all someone needs to pursue big dreams. Something as simple as reaching out to a teacher at a local public school to speak with their students for an hour can have a huge impact on those students’ future aspirations. Grab a few friends, or even your whole club, and you can all describe the different majors offered, what campus life is like and what kinds of professional aspirations you have. Showing young students the incredible diversity and opportunities that come with attending college can help motivate uneasy or confused students to keep pushing for their dreams, and maybe even come to you for help in the future!
Participate in library-hosted events
Consult your local librarian for events that are catered to young students. Sometimes, libraries can offer free tutoring sessions, as well as opportunities for volunteers to help high school students with college applications or selecting colleges. If the local library doesn’t offer an event you want to make happen, ask if you can help plan it! Librarians are angels and will likely be more than happy to help you make your ideas come to fruition.
Overwhelmingly, you have an amazing opportunity to give back to the community as a student. We all know that education is power and, in just a few hours of your time, you can help a young, confused student (just like your past self) take that power into their own hands.
Contact Pariswi Tewari at [email protected].