Written by Priscilla Owusu-Amoah (BSc ’15)
You might hate to admit it, but there is something strangely comfortable about being a student. Practice questions, midterms and papers are your life, whether or not you choose them to be. Options are few when it seems your entire life is running on a forty percent midterm. Discounted groceries on Tuesdays, simply flashing your id to get on a bus, fee-free bank accounts. Oh the pleasures! For the five months that I have abandoned these comforts, I have found some adventure. I have found life through people, relationships, and the dreaded post-undergrad-transition-period-struggles.
Let me tell you about my friend Meaghan. Meaghan was born with a rare condition that leaves her with no limbs and an amazing sense of self-confidence (except this is not directly related to her condition). I’ve known Meaghan for a while, but only really encountered her this summer. I was “crippled” by some limits of my own. I had lost the summer job I had magically been able to get right after graduation. I couldn’t work or be in school, or even leave the country due to a pending work permit. So I volunteered with a local organization and I poured in my all. Meaghan, myself, and a small team of youth organized and ran two separate week-long camps back-to-back! All together we pulled in some one hundred and forty kids and about thirty-five teenage volunteers. Meaghan had to miss a couple of our meetings because of her role as a mentor with War Amps, an organization that supports amputees. When she is not supporting her peers through War Amps, Meaghan is an artist, painter, singer, photographer and inspirational speaker. She even made some adults cry at her most recent speaking engagement.
According to Meaghan, she’s a ‘normal person’ like all of us. But I don't think so at all. When ‘normal people’ sprain their finger, they wail and cry, wrap it in a bandage and render their entire hand paralysed. Meagan chooses learning to draw and photograph. When ‘normal people’s work permit expire, and they are refused jobs, they take advantage of the free time to binge on Netflix; catching up on the shows they missed during their four years of university. When ‘normal people’ are faced with hurdles, struggles, and discomfort, they run and hide. The Meaghans of this world take it on.
I have been inspired to recognize that the life at the end of my comfort zone is an adventure. It is where I truly discover who I am and what motivates me. In my adventure, I have had the opportunity to be involved in a local organization Life Change Adventures. LCA comes alongside people to help discover how they can change their world. One of the ways we use is organizing after school programs that cater to children and youths in low-income housing areas in Waterloo. I’m challenged every day, in this context and by people like Meaghan, to live out this adventure. I believe each one of us is capable of such discovery when we choose to step out of our comfort zone and securities into the world before us.