The trip to Valmeyer is now at the top of the list of my most meaningful college experiences. This was the first time I really stepped out of my comfort zone to provide service to others, and it will not be the last! My only regret is that I waited until my Junior year to start!
The ABT was worth so much more than what I originally thought it would be. I met new friends from different places, of different majors, and with different goals in life. I found something in common with all of them, and developed my ability to work with others toward a common goal. We had such a great group of people on this trip, and the volunteers at the nature reserves were wonderful as well. I had something to learn from every one of them, from their selfless work for the land conservation to their hospitality toward us. Their attitudes and actions are something I will try to replicate in my own life, both with respect to biology and with my service to people through my future career in optometry.
Valmeyer has been relevant to my classwork as well as service work. The focus of the trip was removal of invasive plant species, which is something I have studied here at Austin Peay in classes such as General Biology, Botany, and Ecology. It provided me with real-world, hands-on experience with concepts which I learned in these classes.
I was so impressed with this trip that I am already planning on going on another ABT! Eventually, possibly during my senior year, I may try to lead a service trip of my own. 🙂