What do you do when your life and passions feel disconnected from one-another? What steps do you take?
Senior Sanora Yonan has asked herself these questions during her time at Biola.
Sanora dealt with the disconnect by taking some chances and creating her own rhythm. She felt that her job in residence life, her major, and her interests weren’t quite integrating. Despite this, she identified unique connection points to align these elements of her life.
Sanora started volunteering at B.R.A.I.N., an organization that helps people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. B.R.A.I.N. stands for Brain Rehabilitation and Injury Network. Although volunteer hours for her major were minimal, she decided to keep going each week.
Soon she found value working with brain injury survivors. Their stories were inspiring and provided her with new and unique perspectives.
While some might have seen B.R.A.I.N. as another part of life’s chaos, Sanora integrated this new knowledge and experience with other parts of her life, creating some uncommon (and unexpected) opportunities.
For instance, Sanora put on a special event as a second year R.A. featuring stories of people with brain injuries and a panel of patients from B.R.A.I.N.
Volunteering at B.R.A.I.N. also gave her a unique voice in Residence Life diversity training. She learned to integrate her knowledge of brain injuries into work events as an R.A.
Not only did her volunteer work complement her work in ResLife, but her commitment led to a highly selective internship at B.R.A.I.N., which gave her credit for her degree requirements.
Had Sanora simply completed the minimum volunteer requirements, she would not have had these opportunities. But because she committed to an organization she was passionate about, her time spent there provided more than she could imagine.
Sanora says B.R.A.I.N. helped her personal and professional development. Recently, she became a Resident Coordinator.
When she stepped into her first meeting she quickly realized her co-workers were significantly older. However, the age gap didn’t phase her for long, as she saw what her unique and valuable perspective contributed to her team.
Though the pieces of Sanora’s student career didn’t always fit together perfectly, she committed to bringing Biola and B.R.A.I.N. together in a wonderful way, resulting in a priceless opportunity for integration. For her, it was taking a chance and trying something new. Then looking back, she recognized how all these pieces fit together.
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