My service learning trajectory began during my sophomore year when I took a class called “Adulthood and Aging” with Dr. Deborah Gold. Never had I heard of such a concept being an integral component for a course, but after spending a semester in that class, I soon saw why this would become key for me to critically think about issues more ethically and whole heartedly.
The service learning task for that course required students to volunteer at nursing homes and gave us the opportunity to learn while doing/expose us to sides of aging and health we wouldn’t see otherwise. I came to realize that much of what I had been doing previously as a volunteer to critically reflect upon my impact in the environment was not as effective as it could be and there was so much value to applying coursework and everyday knowledge to gain insight on real world problems.
My experiences in service-learning within Dr. Gold’s courses have really challenged me as a pre-med student to delve past the scientific part of health/geriatric care and really understand people using biopsychosocial framework. I went on to continue taking other service-learning courses such as “Psychosocial Aspects of Human Development” and “Aging and Health” with Dr. Gold. After that, wanted to get involved more within the realms of service-learning, and now serve as one of the head LEAPS facilitators for Dr. Gold’s courses and will be on the executive board for LEAPS as the reflection facilitation chair for the 2014-2015 school year. I’m very proud of the positive experiences I’ve had through working with LEAPS and service-learning throughout my Duke career and would love for other students to experience it’s usefulness as well.