1. What is your internship and why did you choose it?
My internship this summer is at the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester, NY. I am working in the Geriatrics and Palliative Care Department. I chose this internship because I was interested in learning more about how people are cared for near the end of life and how they interact with the healthcare system and their health insurance plans. Talking about humane care for the dying is often considered taboo and a scary topic, but these conversations are critical and should be discussed years before a person’s death. I work primarily with the administration of electronic and paper medical orders for life-sustaining treatment and analyze the health plan’s educational tools used to teach providers about end-of-life discussions and procedures. While the description might make my internship seem dreary, bringing dignity and comfort to those at end-of-life is very rewarding and I work with dedicated, passionate individuals every day.
2. Tell us about a friendship you’ve formed in APO.
In terms of friendships I formed in APO, I of course must talk about my big, Kiki, and my little, Joy because they’re amazing and I’m so lucky to have a great family! Coming into APO as a first semester freshman I really didn’t know anyone besides the people I rushed with, so getting a big was super exciting and I felt like such an amazing detective when I figured out who my big was within the first few emails. The matching process has always worked perfectly for me- I feel like both my big and little and I are distinctly different people, but we are all still very compatible. I can always count on them for lively conversations filled with ranting and accompanied by great food.
3. What is your favorite service project at Cornell? Why?
My favorite service project I’ve done at Cornell is volunteering at the downtown food cupboard. Throughout the year I found myself often wrapped up in being a student and stuck in the campus bubble; being able to get off campus to help the Ithaca community directly was an extremely rewarding experience. It helped me keep things in perspective and reminded me to be grateful for the opportunities and the little things in life I would take for granted. In many service projects volunteers are unable to see the final result of sending a card, or decorating a poster, but at the food cupboard volunteers get the experience of seeing the reaction of someone in need receive food items that will have an immediate impact in their lives. I highly recommend the service project to anyone who is looking to get more involved in the greater Ithaca community and searching for really meaningful service.
4. What is something you’ve learned from service?
The biggest thing I’ve learned from service is that no matter how much time you have, you can always do something to help someone else. Getting more involved with service events has made me a more empathetic and caring person outside of designated projects. The idea of random acts of kindness is so simple but has great impact on those around you. Offering a smile to someone or picking up a piece of trash on your way to class may not seem like a huge deal, but everything counts, and I think we can all do more to be mindful of everyone and everything around us.
5. Have you been volunteering this summer? If so, where and how has it been?
Since I work full-time, I haven’t been volunteering this summer so far. After my internship ends, I plan on volunteering at the Rochester Child First Network, a not-for-profit dedicated to childcare throughout the year in the city. The Rochester city schools have a high school graduation rate just over 50%, and the Child First Network aims to provide children with high quality care in early childhood years to promote learning and build the foundation for success later in life. I’m excited to get involved in their summer program; the week I will be there is “Inventor’s Week”, so I know my imagination will certainly be put to the test. I found the opportunity from searching online for volunteering positions in the community. After being in an office 40 hours a week, primarily behind a computer, I miss being able to help people in the community face-to-face. Also, having been working in end-of-life care this summer, it will be nice change to work with people at the beginning of life!