Caroline Read '12
Psychology and religious studies double major discovers the meaning of solidarity in her involvement with the community
As an incoming freshman, Caroline Read already knew that she wanted to study psychology and continue to graduate school. However, involvement with community-based learning (CBL) helped her realize that she not only enjoyed working with in the community, but that she wanted to make even deeper, longer-term connections with the community.
Learning beyond the classroom
As a psychology major, Read often enrolled in courses that incorporated community-based learning. These placements gave her an opportunity to observe and apply what she had learned in the classroom to real-life situations and gain first-hand experience with the implications of her studies. She realized that she wanted to get more deeply involved with the community organizations. During her junior year, she decided to apply for a year-long internship with the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education.
"With the internship you're really able to get especially involved in that community for the entire year. What I really appreciate about that is the fact that you really become a part of that organization and get a deeper understanding out of the whole experience."
Solidarity with the community
Read also explains how getting out into the community enhanced her experience as a student and gave her new perspectives on the world outside of the classroom. "Life is so much more than just what's on campus," she says. "I think it's really important to always be in tune with that and to always be engaged with the community because we are in a really privileged position as college students."
She goes on to say that "solidarity is great to talk about in the classroom but it's also really hard to understand without the experiential aspect. In really getting to know communities, you become much more aware not only of the issues they face but how to work not for them, but with them. And I think that's such a key distinction of not just creating a solution but understanding where they come from and working with others to help them reach their goal."
Following her year as an intern with the Ignatian Center, Read looks back and recognizes how getting involved helped her develop a new perspectives on her future. Rather than entering graduate school immediately as she had anticipated, she decided to take a year off to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to "do my part and give back."