The prospect of being able to do volunteer work and meeting new friends are the two things that keep me hooked to APO. When I took my gap semester back in the fall of 2018, I volunteered at Klongtoei, part of a slum area in Bangkok, teaching English to some of the most wonderful kids I’ve ever met. Every day, I’d always looked forward to seeing these kids and the smile on their faces. After coming back to Cornell in the spring, I realized that this is something I would like to continue doing. Nowadays, I mostly spend my time doing Prisoner’s Express (Journal and Poem Project) and it’s been fantastic. I’m always interested in what prisoners have to say and exchanging ideas and stories with them.
Coming into APO, I was very scared to approach strangers. As I spent more time with my lin, going to fellowships and service events, I realized that the fear was mostly in my head. I’m much better at saying hi to people and making friends than when I first joined the club. If there’s anything I’ve learned from joining APO, I would say it’s the ability to forge meaningful relationships; APO provides that time and space for me within the backdrop of leadership and service. There is no doubt that the friends I make here will last beyond college. One thing I would also add is the leadership aspect of APO: I’ve learned so much going to leadership workshops (LinkedIn, Google Services, Diverse Leaders, etc). This is something I’ll probably never learn inside a classroom setting and am very happy that I had the chance to learn about things such as leadership styles, time management, and fellowship hosting.
I’m obsessed with Google Calendar and put everything—prelim dates, lecture times, APO events, time with friends—on the cal. I block off a couple of hours each day for extracurriculars and social activities. It’s a form of self-care, basically time for me to kick back and relax (almost as important as academics!!)