When we were told as students to become responsibly engaged in the world during our freshman year, none of us knew exactly what that meant. Some of us thought it meant we should be up-to-date on the latest news stories. Others thought that it meant we should never get a desk job and try to make a “real” impact on the world. Arguably, those are both valid ways to BREW, but not ones that come to mind when I think about BREWing.
One significant way students can BREW post-graduation is to get involved in politics. I know two people my age who are running for seats in the North Dakota House. They are ambitious people who want to make an impact on legislative changes that affect almost one million people. I know students who have gone to the Minnesota State Capitol multiple times to advocate for various bills or allocation of funds. Making your voice heard makes a real impact on legislators’ views and opinions on certain bills. Volunteering for a get-out-the-vote campaign during election years increases voter turnout at the polls and puts the power of those who govern the people of America into the hands of the average American. Campaigns have failed in the past by less than 10 votes, so every vote counts.
Another way students can BREW post-graduation is by volunteering. If a student ends up getting stuck at a desk job they do not really like that much, that does not have to be the end of their participation in the broader community. Volunteering at church, the food shelter, nursing homes, hospitals, or at a local non-profit all help individuals spend their free time wisely when they are not at work. It is also a great way to network and helps the community in a big way.
Organizing an event with one of the local community groups is one of the best ways I can see Cobbers BREWing after graduation. This would entail joining a community group, getting to know the people in the group, articulating your strengths to them, and helping to plan and execute a community-wide event to bring local people together in a fun, energetic way. Ideas could include a pancake feed, a community sports team, or a large beer picnic with local craft beers debuting their new blends.
Starting a community-minded small business is another great way to BREW once out of college. What do I mean by this? What I mean is potentially starting a small business that addresses a problem in the community that, if successfully solved, brings community members together to experience something fantastic. Starting this business would not only be a valuable way to spend your time, but it would also help build the community you would be serving through the products or services sold by the hypothetical small business.
Getting out there and doing something worthwhile is a struggle most millennials are dealing with. Odds are you will end up at a desk job somewhere you did not necessarily expect to end up, at least for the first few years after graduation. That is OK. Make the most of it while you are there by building up the community at work and getting to know your coworkers. If you do not have a great working environment, that is OK too. Just do one of the things outlined in the above paragraphs in your spare time. By spending your time BREWing outside of work, you will end up building relationships with amazing people who truly value your input. You will also be greatly appreciated by the people you are volunteering for. Being noticed and valued for your hard work is one of the many rewards we get for BREWing outside of our normal 40-hour work weeks.
Making an impact is not just about getting that perfect job where you feel like the work you are doing is dramatically changing people’s lives for the better. Making an impact is also about how you decide to spend your time when you are not getting paid. It is about building others up in the workplace when it has been a rough day at work. It is about spending some time one-on-one with someone at work who really needs to hear the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is about getting out of your comfort zone to accomplish something with other people greater than yourself. It is about loving your neighbor as yourself in such a way that people are drawn to you and the love you exude for others. So, get out there and BREW, you Cobbers. You only have so much time in the day, so you better spend it wisely.