By Matthew Johnson
I was reflecting about my time in Footprints and one thing I and many of the alumni can attest to is that Footprints volunteering and community engagement was the best part of my undergraduate experience. There is a tendency to compare oneself with others and see all of the great and amazing things other students are doing simultaneously at UF, but I think it is important to recognize that what you learn in Footprints through dedication and reflection is much more powerful than a multitude of involvements. Getting involved with Footprints is where it’s at - it’s about care for patients by the bedside at their most desperate hour and somehow although it sounds morbid, it’s full of joy. If I were to pass on one piece of advice and what I’ve seen from the students over the years that take the most out of Footprints and go on to be better people, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc, it’s that this experience is everything you make out of it.
Footprints is not special because it’s name recognizable (it’s only at UF unlike leadership in national organizations), it’s special because those who really devote themselves to it and these kids by making it their life’s work to serve and care for others in a deeply meaningful way. That lesson - to care deeply and give greatly requires serious dedication and reflection. Busy students although impressive in many ways just don’t have the time to go the extra mile, pick up extra shifts, do the extra events, and send care cards or invent new ideas to help the club and the patients. If you’re at UF and wondering what’s the best thing to do for your future, look no farther than where you’re at right now. Footprints is where it’s at!
Matthew is part of Footprints Class of Spring 2017. He is now a Footprints alumni pursing his passion for medicine within the Medical Honors Program, UF College of Medicine Class of 2024.