Leaving A Mark

I’ve been living the 9 to 5 grind for nine months now. A lot has changed since I entered the workforce, and I’m proud of how I’ve developed: I’m more comfortable picking up challenging work and I feel like I play an important role in my team. However, I’d be lying if I said I’m 100% content with my life. It’s the same routine everyday: I get up, go to work, and then I go home. Some days, I go out with friends. Some days, I exercise at the gym. Some days, I stay home and read a book. And some days, I stay home and just rest. I’m pretty happy, but I still feel like I’m missing something.

In college, I had always been involved in extracurricular activities. At first, I think what drove me was primarily FOMO—i.e., the fear of missing out. However, I gradually realized that these activities did more than relieve my FOMO; they started to give me a feeling of satisfaction. The feeling of making a difference in the community, of making a difference in other people’s lives, however small the difference was, made me happy.

During my time at Green River, I was involved in starting two student organizations: the Photography club as well as the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Through the Photography Club, we provided a medium for photographers to meet one another and share their talent with the rest of the campus, and through the MSA, we catered and advocated for the needs of Muslim students. During my time at Brown University, I continued my involvement in the photography sphere by working for the yearbook, and I was also involved in two student organizations. I co-founded INCH, the Indonesian Network on College Hill, with the aim of sharing and educating people about Indonesia, and in my senior year, I became involved with Hack@Brown, holding responsibility as the Head of Documentation, where I combined my passion for photography with my passion for software. If anything, it’s these involvements I had with other students and organizations that made my college experience memorable, and helped me grow as a person.

Now I’ve graduated from college and I’m in the working world. I like it, I really do, but I think the high I was experiencing from being in a new environment is over. I genuinely enjoy doing what I do, and I do feel like I’m contributing at work, but I still feel like something’s missing. I want to somehow be more involved in the community outside of work and do something that matters.

The thing I’m struggling with now is, how? How can I be more involved in the community in a way that matters to me? For some reason, things felt so much easier in college. Perhaps it was the fact that the community was much smaller, and perhaps being surrounded with other young, naïve and ambitious students just made me more motivated. Either way, this has been bugging me for a while now. The thought that I’m a relatively useless member of the society makes me disappointed in myself. I know I can use my spare time in a more useful way, and I guess I just have to figure out how.
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