By: Jennifer Liptak
Life is like a rubber band. One minute we are pulled in a certain direction and the next we are snapped the other way. We are constantly being stretched to our limits, trying not to break. However, it is our choice to stay in our comfort zones or manifest our full potential in life. Up until this year, I was always hesitant to let my rubber band extend very far.
I was afraid that if I let go, I would get hurt and have no direction in life. Fortunately, I am no longer confined in the boundaries of my rubber band. I have learned to open up to all that God has to offer me and because of this, I have come to realize that while many people face the difficulty of choosing a career, God has blessed me with a calling I know I am meant for.
My passion for speaking up and discussing difficult topics developed from my decision to major in Human Rights Studies. HRS is an interdisciplinary program based upon traditional liberal arts. As a HRS major, I am committed to respecting and promoting the dignity of each human being as well as finding new and innovative ways to discourse complex issues within our society. Staying informed on grassroots human rights issues has always been a strong suit of mine.
Specifically, I recognized at a young age that I wanted to help others in anyway that I could. I carried out this idea all throughout grade school and high school by actively participating in youth groups and going on mission trips throughout cities in the US. However, when I came to college, I never thought my confidence would be shaken as much as it has been. I’ve faced many difficulties that have led me to question my values and beliefs. I’ve been in the darkest places. Yet, there is always something that brings me back.
In May following my freshman year, I decided to go on a summer immersion trip to New Orleans, LA through UD’s campus ministry. While I was there, I worked with a team to rebuild a house that was destroyed during the devastating storm and flood of Katrina back in 2005. Not only did this trip ignite the fire of faith I once had, but it also opened my eyes to a side of the world I was unfamiliar with. I felt the pain and loss of the people who still reside there and I saw how much this tragedy affected their lives. This feeling, one of empathy for others’ sufferings, resonates within me.
The reason I share this story is because for me, HRS is my home here at UD. When I first decided to major in HRS, I was under the impression that human rights were just a tool to help me move along with what I really wanted to do, which is nonprofit work.
I figured, hey, we all have rights, we’re all equal, this is going to be great—and then reality sunk in. I realized human rights are no glorious thing; they are messy and complex. But they are also beautiful and true, and have given me more confidence in myself than I ever thought I could have.
Human rights allow me to live out my passion of serving others, something I truly believe God is calling me to do. They teach me the importance of understanding and being aware of the injustices in this world, while encouraging me to make a difference and stand up for what I believe in.
God has blessed me with a major that I love—something that not many people can say. While HRS supports my calling to work in the nonprofit sector, perhaps the best advantage is that it simply feels right to me to work for something I deeply believe in. In life, people are always under this constant “tension.”
They are always trying to balance and reason between what is right or wrong in their philosophical and theological views. However, if people do not hold this tension well, they can be pulled to either end of the spectrum, which may not be the best thing. True faith begins at the edge of one’s comfort zone; thus, God extends the rubber bands of those who are bold and courageous.