by Olivia Sunna
UCF junior and Biomedical Sciences major Sanya Georgieva believes that the key to a quality and beneficial college experience is getting involved in the community. She has proven this dedication to helping others through her leadership as a Burnett Honors College Symposium Team Leader, her work as secretary in the UCF chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA), and her volunteerism at the Rehabilitation Center of Winter Park. Additionally, Georgieva remained active in the larger global community through her participation in Students Organize for Syria at UCF’s March for Refugees and 11/9 Coalition events.
Georgieva talks more about her involvement as an officer in UNA-UCF during the 2016-2017 school year. “Every spring, we do a Women’s Day Fashion Show …it’s kind of like a fashion show and wearing what you feel most comfortable in and talking about prevalent women’s issues in the world right now and promoting equality. We do Relay for Life, and then every week we hold meetings to discuss current issues in the world and look at it through a United Nations lens, and it’s really good for raising awareness.”
As a Team Leader for the Burnett Honors College in Fall 2016, Georgieva was a teaching assistant for a group of twenty freshmen, grading their papers on community activism and showing them by example how being involved in the UCF community benefitted not just themselves, but others as well. Through this position, she guided the first-semester freshmen as they taught ethics to elementary students at Title 1 schools in Orlando in order to promote higher education, a step she had taken herself in the Honors Symposium course during her freshman year.
Despite her rigorous coursework as a Biomedical Sciences major, Georgieva has gone above and beyond to enrich the lives of those outside of the UCF community as well. In her spare time, she works at the Rehabilitation Center of Winter Park nursing home in Maitland, Florida helping the elderly as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA); Georgieva discusses different ways that biomedical majors can get involved.
“I think for a lot of biomed students, it can be hard for them to figure out where to get those clinical hours because they are really preferable to have for a med school application, so CNA is a really cool program…You can also do EMT courses at Valencia [College]…I know a lot of people do scribing, which is when you go to emergency rooms and you transcribe everything that’s happening.”
However, Georgieva’s true passion lies in working for those who need medical services, but cannot necessarily afford them. This is why she is choosing to work as a medical provider for Shepherd’s Hope in Fall 2017. Shepherd’s Hope is a volunteer-based clinic based in Orlando that goes above and beyond to those in need of a doctor, even going as far as to provide referrals to places that will conduct medical procedures, such as x-rays, completely free of charge.
Georgieva believes that all of her involvement has not only gone to help others, but herself.
“I think it’s drastically improved…my mental health because I think it’s really easy, especially as a freshman, because you’re living in a new dorm, maybe a new city, you don’t know where you are…it’s really easy to get in the pattern of school, home, cook, library, study, and do nothing else. [Involvement is] a really good way to make yourself feel like you’re being a participant of your community, you’re being useful, and especially if you find something you’re really passionate about, you can put that passion towards something. I think it can even change your perspective on life.”
Georgieva gives advice for incoming freshmen who want to join organizations.
“College is a really fun time. Don’t let your hesitations and fears cheat you out of experiences that could be really meaningful for you later on…Being involved is a really beneficial thing for your mental health, and it can really help you grow as a person and really help you get through tough times. I know it has for me.”
Georgieva has proven that volunteerism in the community can directly impact your future, whether it opens up opportunities in your career path or allows you to grow as a person. Community involvement is more than just another line on your resume; it is a way of life.