I work at a University so all day I see students bustling through halls, juggling the stresses of life and academia. No longer a student, I still feel their pain as I recall the days of endless assignments; knee-deep in five to six courses with no end in sight. My GPA hanging over me like a sword of Damocles, ready to fall with a sub-par paper or poor showing on an exam. During the exam season, the stress is magnified as students struggle to retain the entirety of their courses for the inevitable examinations and final papers.
It is during this exam period that I too feel the students stress. Seeing students sleep deprived, emotionally run down; the products of concentrated studying to the detriment of proper nutrition, exercise, and social interaction; it is an experience that still strikes close to home and one that I am thankful to no longer deal with.
The funny thing about empathy though, is that you do feel their pain and the strain on students is palpable, wearing on me just as it does for students. With this in mind I asked myself, what can I do to make the lives of students a little bit better?
The answer became quickly apparent; coffee! Those who know that I love coffee, it makes you feel great and it tastes wonderful with or without sugar and milk. Also, it seems to taste better when you are tired and what am are their plenty of during exam period…tired students. So I went out and purchased a massive coffee urn full of Green Bean Manitoba roasted coffee and with my friend Matthew Hepner, walked around the University of Manitoba in the evening offering coffee to anyone and everyone.
The responses I got were overwhelmingly positive. Even those that turned down the coffee responded with ear to ear grins, warmed by the thought that people were looking out for them during a tumultuous times. The Coffee Crusade also served to reaffirm my belief that it is the small things in life that can bring the greatest amount of satisfaction. The project certainly cost me a bit of money, but is easily one of the best investments in time and money that I have ever made as the feeling of making the world just a little bit better for others is an emotion that cannot be equalled.
To end, think about a time that you volunteered or made the world a little bit better for another person. When did you become the change you wanted to see in the world? Let me know as I would love to hear your stories.