Illustration by Jael Smith
From the start of middle school MCPS has mandated Student Service Learning Hours to graduate. What do you get out of this mandatory volunteering? A high school diploma, not the idea of taking care of your community. SSL hours do not foster the idea that they should volunteer but that they have to. This also adds to the stress that students are feeling when they are about to graduate and did not get them all done. Colleges do not want students who just do the bare minimum, they want students that are actively committed to helping their community.
There usually is an idea of helping the community when you volunteer but when you make it mandatory that is taken away. There becomes an idea of helping so you can help yourself. This takes up a lot of your time and energy that could be spent living your life or studying. County leaders sometimes are hypocritical when they want students to be their best selves but also give them strange requirements to be that kind of a person when they do not always follow them themselves. It feels discontented to me at least when these expectations are given but not followed by the people making them. There is a lack of trust in your county because they make you do things that you have never thought would be helpful to do out of your own heart.
Volunteering should always make students feel like they are making a difference in their community. Giving students many opportunities to volunteer but not making them volunteer to graduate high school. There should be a sense of being good for the sake of being good but this just doesn’t foster this idea.
This is usually a topic that is ignored and everyone just takes it for granted that you have to volunteer, but in my opinion it is really annoying to make this required. I try to volunteer a lot on my own time but that is because I learned that I need to help this place. Academic burnout is an issue that many students face and making mandatory volunteering minimums just adds to the dislike of school and a students community.