After leaving Camp Zanika, Silver 7 drove back to Sacramento to join all the other teams as we finished up our ten months in AmeriCorps. This last transition included a debrief of the round, debriefing our specialty roles, campus improvements (gardening and the like), and team reflection. We also had a lot of down time to just hang out with friends, play card games, watch lots of movies, and go to AmeriProm (just as exciting as it sounds).
I came into my second year of AmeriCorps because I was still restless, still wanted to explore the US, and FEMA Corps hadn’t filled my need for some good old manual labor. My year in NCCC definitely got me working hard and traveling. In FEMA Corps, we were rarely separated from the rest of the Corps and our work wasn’t defined yet, so a lot of my time was spent developing friendships and learning how to communicate with a big team. This year, we spent little time as a Corps and my team was constantly changing. So, while I did develop wonderful friendships, I don’t feel that big connection with most of the Corps like I did in FEMA Corps. I also don’t feel as strong an attachment to Silver 7 (don’t get me wrong, I will always be Silver 7, but we went from 11 members, to me being on the composite team with 8 other people, to me coming back to 6 members, to us going down to 4 girls, to us gaining two members we had never met before, it creates an interesting dynamic.) This year in NCCC, I feel like most of my connections and good times came from the sponsors. I feel proud to have worked with all my sponsors, and would love to go back and work again with many of them. They all helped me grow professionally, allowing me to sit in on board meetings and giving me resume and networking advice.
Many people ask me “Which is better, FEMA Corps or NCCC?” I guess what I’m trying to say is, they can’t be compared. I view FEMA Corps as my year where I grew personally, I gained incredible friendships, I learned who I want to be and how to achieve that. NCCC taught me more about myself professionally, what environment I need to be in to be my best, and what I look like at my best. FEMA Corps grew my confidence and taught me how to take chances, try new things. NCCC had me taking those chances, and taught me how to deal with the good and bad that comes from them. Both years taught me how to deal with great and not so great bosses and leadership. Both years had moments where I felt on top or the world, and moments where I was ready to strangle the next person who talked to me. Any AmeriCorps experience challenges you, teaches you what you consider important in life, and hopefully changes you for the better. I view my FEMA Corps and NCCC years as completely different experiences. Would I change some parts about them if I could? Yes, but that’s just life, that’s learning. My AmeriCorps experience was two years well spent, and I’m glad I did it.
What’s next for me? Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear, simple answer for that. I spent the rest of the summer traveling and catching up with family I hadn’t seen in ages (including my 9 month old twin cousins who I hadn’t even met yet.) Now, I’m about to start two online courses so that I can work towards my Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Through AmeriCorps, I can pay for these courses with my Education Award, and I only have to complete three courses total and go to a networking conference in order to get the certificate, so I should be finished by next May. I’m living back home in CT and in the process of getting a part time job while I take classes. I’m also keeping busy by seeing friends in the area, volunteering, and exercising (Apple Harvest 5k, here I come!). I’m hoping to move out of CT sometime after my fall classes finish. Where to? I’m not sure yet. I’m looking into some east coast cities such as Philly, as well as other cities such as Seattle. But, to be honest I’m not picky enough so lots of ideas are still bouncing around when it comes to my next step. I just know that ultimately, I want to work in nonprofits, hopefully an art or science museum, because those are my happy places and I’d love to support and help others enjoy them too.
I hope I was able to answer some questions about my time in AmeriCorps and what my plans are next. As always, feel free to contact me, I love to chat and feel like I have to much catching up to do with friends and family. For a few years, I’ve kept this blog so that friends and family could stay up to date on where I was and what I was doing throughout my adventures. Well, now my adventures are most likely going to turn much more normal. But, I’d still like to post now and again. I’ll be sure to write about what I’m up to, and maybe some things I care about, we’ll see what happens. Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who read this blog, I really appreciate it. 🙂
Hope everyone had a great summer and wishing you all a happy fall. 🙂