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  • Hillels of Georgia

The Best Things Happen Unexpectedly

By Maya Schechter, GCSU '21

Leading up to my senior year of college in the fall of 2020, I was feeling very anxious about the pandemic and how it was going to affect my final months at Georgia College. I was stuck in the mindset that experiences and opportunities were being taken away from me and that I would be missing out on my last chance to live the “college experience”. It came time for me to go back to school at the start of August, so I packed up, hugged my family goodbye, and moved back to Milledgeville to start the semester that I was sure would turn out to be a disappointment.

It’s almost as if it were meant to be that on my first night back at school I stumbled across an Instagram post for a socially distanced Bagel Meet & Greet. Before seeing this, I hadn’t realized that there was a Hillel presence at GCSU. I was hesitant to get involved at first since I was taking more classes than ever before, but I’m so glad to say that eating bagels on the front lawn of the Hillel house that night was the start of an incredible senior year.

Since that night 10 months ago, Hillel slowly started to become a bigger part of my life. This was the first year that I had ever spent Passover away from my family, and even though it felt different, it was still special because of Hillel. I now had a community away from home to celebrate and share a delicious, nostalgic meal with.

In March, I heard about an internship opportunity with Hillels of Georgia, and I immediately jumped at the chance. Within a week, I had joined the Development team and was working on projects that allowed me to be creative and independent while preparing me for life after graduation. My mentor guided me through the process of learning a new software, developing social media posts, and increasing alumni engagement to ensure the future growth of Hillel at Georgia College.

It seems like over the past (very unusual) year, every time I asked for something, Hillel answered. I was worried that this year would be uneventful, and Hillel answered with a semester full of activities and an amazing group of soon-to-be friends of mine. I was feeling down about being forced to spend Jewish holidays away from home, and Hillel answered with student-run services and traditional meals. I was struggling to find the perfect place to start my professional career during the pandemic, and Hillel answered with a flexible internship opportunity that allowed me to become even more involved in the growth of the organization.

This year has taught me that unexpected encounters can bring unexpected blessings... and you should never pass up a free bagel!

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