To give a sole reason as to why I joined Americorps wouldn't necessarily be accurate or true. Why I wanted to stemmed from my own interests and curiosity...and the fact that I just really, really didn't want to go for another round of school (and grad school at that). My last undergraduate semester, while it felt great to be finally done, left me with extreme anxiety from my last classes.
Since I wasn't working full-time, I spent a portion of my summer volunteering at the children's Fly Art Center, which gave way for wanting do more volunteering. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
I first heard about the Americorps program (specifically the one I'm going to be in, NCCC) through a co-worker at the Ypsi Food Co-op. Traveling has always been on my mind, so that was what attracted me. I kept it as an idea in the back of my head for a year.
Fast forward to graduation. The two things I have been thinking about most is whether or not I want to go to grad school right away, or begin to look for work. Standard post-graduate issues.
Then I remembered about Americorps.
The more I continued to think about it, the more I was kept saying to myself "why the hell not?" By this point mid-summer I was still going through my options of what I wanted to do. Every day I woke up pretending a different future path. Monday, grad student. Tuesday, teaching English overseas. Wednesday, finding work anywhere, even out of state. Thursday, Americorps. By Friday I would exhaust myself from over thinking it and just worried for no good reason.
From volunteering at Fly Art, I gained an overwhelming sense of achievement from helping the kids and it gave myself something else to think about that wasn't my own problems for a while. Finally, I just decided to go for it and apply. Doing selfless things and feeling good about it was right up Americorps alley. Because I had applied to grad school and was waiting for them to also call me back, that whole month of August seemed incredibly long. I'm talking molasses slow here. The more I sent in information for Americorps, the more I wanted to get in.
Grad school called me back first, and I declined. Not as easily as I just made it sound in that sentence. Since I hadn't heard from Americorps yet I thought about it for an entire month whether or not I should just go to school instead. It certainly would have stopped me from freaking out about the future, especially if I wasn't picked for the Winter 2010 program. Then I would have had to wait until Fall 2011 to get in and I wouldn't know what to do with myself for a whole year waiting. Probably go crazy.
Obviously you know the end of this story though, and if you don't I'm going to have to ask you to read the two previous posts and my little info box, stat. But I'm going to stop myself before this turns into an unnecessary ten page essay. Adios!