TEDxUPR: My Volunteer Experience

On March 19, waves of people arrived anxiously and excited to the Teatro of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus for the awaited event, TEDx UPR. I was not one of them.

 

 

 

Robert Frost expressed in one of his poems: “ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Like Robert Frost, I decided to exchange the experience of attending the event for the opportunity of being part of the amazing group that made it happen. Despite the difficulty of this decision, I don’t regret it one bit.

 

The anticipated day came upon and with it my anxiety reached the maximum level. People may have thought I was a speaker with all the stress I had, but they eventually laughed when I expressed I was only a volunteer who was insecure of her greeter abilities.

 

HER CAMPUS UPR REPRESENTING!!

 

I arrived at the university and my excitement grew with every step I took towards the theater. I could see the staff walking around helping, people setting the equipment, and as time passed, the people arrived, lining up to take their seats. I was assigned to help at the registration table where the attendees would get their lanyards and goodies as a keepsake of the event.

The doors opened and a great amount of people came. All were smiling, full of questions and prepared to blow their minds with the Ted Talks. In rush hour I did not have the time to internalize what was happening but when the majority of the people started settling, I started to perceive the people not just as numbers or the destination of bags I was giving, but as learning experiences that I was contributing to.

 

I even joked I felt like in Disney, because now I was the one making people smile and motivated for the event. After, I helped at the snack area where I met different volunteers who were just as eager as I was, full of energy.  It was great to meet young people dedicated to helping and interested in contributing to a better society.

 

After that area, I had to sadly leave . Even though I only worked for one day or did not meet all the people who organized the event since day one, I felt part of Tedx UPR. I started promoting the event and livestreamed on snapchat (I tried), and walked proudly with my volunteer shirt at the mall.  People even asked.

 

Volunteering at Tedx UPR was one of the most enriching and exciting moment of my life. Yes, I gave up a lot but in return I learned a valuable lesson, that sometimes making people happy by helping them is the way to your happiness.