THE DAY I REALIZED I MATTERED BY STEPHANIE DOMIJAN
I have spent the past two summers being a camp counselor at an overnight camp in Minocqua Wisconsin. Most people’s initial reaction to this is that I am either too old and it is time for me to get a real job or I am an education major and want to get more experience teaching kids.
So why do I do it?
I go back for the camper who wrote me a letter while I was away at college, the mom who thanked me for having such a positive impact on her daughter’s life, and for the dad that promised his daughter would without a doubt be returning next year. I do it for the campers who started calling me “mom” and idolized me throughout the best weeks of their lives. After spending 24 hours, 7 days a week, for 8 weeks together, the relationship that forms between campers and their counselor is unlike any other. I do it for the campers who overcome homesickness, try something new, succeed at something they never thought they could, and for the campers who need camp as much as I did.
On the last day of camp, I received a letter from one of my campers and it is something that I will forever cherish. She told me that I had changed her life and thanked me for being the first to truly understand her. I had absolutely no idea the difference I had made in her life, but I do know that I wouldn’t have had made an impact on any of the campers’ lives had I been stuck in an office throughout the summer.
The day I realized I mattered came because I followed my passion. Being outside all day, every day, for the entire duration of the summer allowed me to do what I love and avoid the inevitable 9-5 job that would be awaiting for me post graduation. Although I do not plan on being a camp counselor forever, I am here to tell you that being a camp counselor at the age of 20 was quite possibly the most influential experience I have had so far in life.
The next time you look for a job, ask yourself what you want out of it. Does the position align with your personal mission or goals? What is stopping you from following your passions? Don’t waste your time working a stressful 9-5 job that you hate – Live your life with a purpose and find a job that means something to you.