In January of this year, while hustling through my last semester of my senior year of college – I started applying for jobs. I spent the last four years listening to my professors, my classmates, my parents and anyone else with a mouth tell me about how bleak the job prospects were post-graduation – especially for journalists.
I applied for over 150 jobs – most in journalism, some in other forms of communication (public relations, copy-editing, etc.), even a journalism teaching job at an elementary school.
I didn’t turn to AmeriCorps because I thought I couldn’t get a job. As a matter of fact, I had three job offers available to me – all three of them reporter positions in Florida, Texas and Arizona.
To be honest, I looked at AmeriCorps because it seemed like an adventure. It looked cool. It looked like a great opportunity to do something for others, build my resume and have an adventure for a year or two before I settled down fully into “real adult life.”
One of my college roommates, Suzannah, is serving herself as an AmeriCorps member – more specifically as a Teach for America Corps Member. She pursued the idea junior year and most of senior year was consumed with her TFA application process. We were so proud when she was chosen and she is currently English to 10th graders at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee!
Serving others has always been something ingrained in me. I was never part of a youth group or church group growing up, but when I entered high school I started doing CAS hours for the International Baccalaureate Program that I was a part of and I became inspired. In high school, I volunteered alongside my mother for four years at the Orange County Animal Services shelter. I loved dogs so I decided to apply my passion in that direction.
In college, I joined Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. Though PSP is an honors fraternity, service is still a key component and we had a variety of service projects over the years. Every time I participated in a service project, I felt better about myself, enjoyed the time spent with like-minded people and learned a lot…about that community, the world and the human condition.
Through PSP, I had the opportunity to go on two Alternative Break Projects where we served in schools with TFA members, did a service project for the students and learned about the state of education in our country and TFA. (Note: TFA is Phi Sigma Pi’s national philanthropy).
It is through these experiences that I realized I could do well in an education setting through AmeriCorps.
I applied to Notre Dame AmeriCorps for a variety of reasons, but the first and foremost is slightly selfish – it was close to home. I knew it would be hard to live off of the AmeriCorps stipend and I also wanted to be back with my family, so when I found an AmeriCorps program I liked in Central Florida – I knew this was the one for me.
A few confessions:
1. I applied for a different position than the one I got. I originally applied for a Media Relations position at the Hope CommUnity Center because it was similar to my desired career path. When I didn’t get that position, I was offered a position at the high school.
2. I originally turned it down. I thought it would be better to attempt to launch my career in Miami but it soon became obvious to me that Miami wasn’t where my heart was – so I called and thankfully the position was still available for me.
So far, I think it has been a great decision! Definitely a risk and an adventure, but a great decision.