In today's Badger Blog, freshman Staci Roscizewski talks about the experience of visiting the UW Children's Hospital, what she learned and how it inspired her.
As an incoming freshman on the Wisconsin softball team, I was prepared to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. I expected to push my limits in the weight room, on the field, and in the classroom. However, one part of being a Badger student-athlete I did not expect was the amazing volunteer opportunities. As a team, I am proud to say that we participate in many volunteer activities on campus and in the Madison community. Personally, one of the most fulfilling activities was visiting the UW Children's Hospital.
While at the children's hospital, groups of four Badgers went from room to room making casual conversations with patients and their families. Some kids could not wait to tell us about how excited they were to be Aaron Rodgers for Halloween, while others just wanted us to be quiet so they could watch Monsters Inc. Each child had their own way of coping with the stress of what they were going through. It is hard to truly understand what they are experiencing, given not many of us have been in similar situations. The UW softball team felt like anything to make one child's day a little better would be worth the visit. Sometimes, four Badgers could put a smile on a little boy or girl's face. Believe it or not, a single smile from patients would brighten our day more than their own.
Each child really made me put my own life into perspective. Sometimes when school or softball is stressful and seems unmanageable, I often think about the visit to the children's hospital. The stress and complications of my life does not compare to those of the children in the hospital. I am sure the children we visited would love to have our stresses rather than their own. I will forever have the images of the children we visited in my head when I want to complain about waking up early or writing a paper, because in reality, those are privileges that few of us are fortunate to have. Seeing first hand how such small children can be so strong is truly an inspiration and serve as a constant reminder of just how fortunate we are. Making a visit to the children's hospital was one of the must humbling experiences I have ever had.
One reoccurring theme throughout the visit that I noticed was lots of family and love. In almost every single room, there were family members there to support their loved ones. Patients' families really appreciated the time that the softball team was spending with their loved ones and made the visit even more worthwhile. Seeing the involvement by not only family members, but also the caring hospital staff was incredible. As soon as we walked in, we all immediately noticed how welcoming and surprisingly cheery the atmosphere was for a hospital.
As a team, I believe that we benefited from this experience. The unbelievable feeling of happiness was overwhelming when we were able to make a child's day easier. Seeing the unfortunate circumstances of so many beautiful children made us realize how blessed we are to be able to represent the University of Wisconsin as student-athletes.
After the visit, we collectively decided that more visits were soon to come. Making similar visits to the hospital is something that will create a strong bond within the team that is hard to find among 23 young women. More importantly, it gives hope to children that desperately need someone to put that little smile on their face. I often think about how the children in the hospital look up to the Badgers and idolize our accomplishments, but little do they know it is the Badgers that find inspiration in them.