You lie in your bed, listening to the persistent ringing of your alarm. Once, twice, and a third time you hit the snooze. Finally, after picking up your iPhone, you look through the cracked screen you acquired recently and see the time: 7:40. You jump to your feet, rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth and put on whatever over-sized t-shirt and shorts you can find. You grab a slightly rotten banana on the shelf and run to catch the bus as you see it racing down your street, slightly reflecting on the fact that your mother would definitely disapprove of your morning tardiness. You don’t even want to think about what she would say about your appearance! What were you supposed to do though? You decided to go to a movie night and were then forced to stay up late studying. I mean, after all, you’re a college student, and you don’t want to miss out.
These days, most Americans can remember what it was like to be a student; I surely do. Although this experience was one of my very own, much too frequent memories from my time spent at The University of Georgia, I am sure that you have your own reflections of trying to make it on time to class or some other faux pas of being a student. Possibly it’s the mornings in high school, struggling to get up to your mother’s singing of “Rise and Shine,” like one of my dear friends, or the memory of walking into an exam that you knew nothing about — unfortunately one of mine as well. Whatever your recollection of being a student may be, we all get the idea. Students carry around with them the stigma of being the unreliable and unpredictable generation, and having been there, I will say we live up to it a lot of times.
The amazing part of my college reflection is that when you look past the group of young people who are not kids and definitely not adults, spending their nights out late trying to make memories and early mornings cramming for an exam, you find a generation filled with passionate and inspiring people who desire to change the world, despite their flaws. To them, they are not yet tainted with the responsibilities of life, so the opportunities are endless. Choices seem limitless. They may seem somewhat sloppy and unkempt, but their desire is flawless.
That passion and almost reckless pursuit for good is something I see so much potential in as the University Programs Coordinator at CURE. My job means I get to interact with these students day in and day out. In my impression, these students I work with are the cream of the crop. They are university students, struggling with finding “identity,” forming friendships, and learning how to write an essay in APA format, just like everyone else, but they hold something extraordinary above all their peers. They have chosen to spend those late nights up planning and dreaming of ways to raise funds and awareness for a little boy in Zambia with clubfoot or a teenage girl in Kenya with a leg deformity. They sacrifice summer vacations to go serve in our hospitals, and they give up their mornings sleeping in to Skype with me.
These students I am talking about are the leaders, the pioneers, at their schools, starting CURE chapters all over the country. They are students just like Jake Harandi from California Polytechnic University and Hope Kim Doit from the University of Florida, who saw a need and heard a calling and willingly sacrificed a lot to join a cause. They are all involved in many organizations, and they all have very time consuming work each day, but that did not stop or hinder them from going above and beyond. Unlike a lot of students, they have found a deep passion for CURE International, and it is driven by their ubiquitous love for God. They strive to please Him and serve His people, and it is through CURE International that they were brought to do that.
Right now, there are seven different universities that are part of the CURE U program, and that number is growing. At each campus, they host meetings for fellow peers interested in CURE, put on events at their schools and at local high schools to raise funds, and spend countless hours in prayer for everyone who comes through our hospitals. These students not only desire to give to CURE while in school, but they each desire to be a part of this organization somehow even after college, which is what makes this program even greater.
The CURE U program enables us to work with students at their highest potential. Right now, they may be just “college kids,” but one day they will be CURE’s board members, donors, doctors, and even parents to their own college student volunteering for CURE. Taking time to invest in these students has not only brought a huge return value to the organization, but it enables those students and the others involved on their campus to be impacted for life. Working with the “next generation” will breed long lasting, really valuable results.
As one having just exited the “college generation” and entering the “adult world,” and having been a founder of CURE U at the University of Georgia myself, I believe I can speak highly into the gratitude and impact this program has on students’ lives. Looking back, I see that some of my greatest memories were spent during those late nights planning for our next event. The mornings I was cramming for an exam or the basketball game I missed because of our Spring Shag all seemed worth it then and worth it now. CURE International opened my eyes to a horizon of life that, as a college student, I was not subject to see. The program gave me potential, and their support helped bring it to life. Now, as we strive to grow this program and give so many others this opportunity, my prayer is that these students would lose the stigmas attached to them and that we would see them for all the great potential they are worth.
If you are interested in starting a program at your school or know someone who would be, please email me at email@example.com.