Written by Hannah Evans, AmeriCorps Member serving on the Entergy Louisiana Team at Broadmoor Middle School

How has City Year changed me? Hmm...where do I begin?! City Year has helped me feel inspired and powerful, while turning me into a person who can maintain a 50-hour work week! Throughout our first two weeks of basic training, a few reoccurring remarks were made:

1) The job’s gonna get tough.

2) Self-care is important.

3) You will get burnt out at some point.

It can be difficult adjusting to City Year life, and as a group of unique individuals, we’ve all adapted and continue to adapt in our own ways. I reached out to my teammate, Hannah Harrison, to interview her on how she’s feeling at the moment.

How are you feeling about your City Year experience?

Above anything, City Year has been an eye-opening experience. City Year has taught me that the field of education is most definitely where I want to continue my career.

What’s your favorite thing about City Year so far?

My kids! They make it all worth it. I love the work we do at this school, and I love my awesome team, of course!

Do you feel as though City Year is changing you in any way?

I’ve been a student my whole life, but now with City Year, I’m able to really grow into that mentor, teacher, leader role.

What is your most frequently felt emotion on an average day at school?

Inspired for sure. The other day, my students and I were reading a story that mentioned a flounder, and they had no idea what that was, so I taught my kids what a flounder was. It seems like the silliest thing, but it was just one of those cool moments where I got to reach outside my realm of being just a City Year in their English Language Arts class. I get to introduce entirely new concepts to them.

What kind of things do you do after work or on the weekends to relax? How has it been balancing having a life outside of City Year?

I usually just relax at home and watch some Netflix at night. My new hobby is cooking, and that relaxes me! I feel pretty stable with life outside of City Year. Some weeks are more difficult than others, but balancing my social life with City Year has fallen into a pretty normalized pattern.

So it’s 5AM, your alarm is blaring, and you're not feeling so great. What is the driving force behind getting you out of bed and getting you to school with a big ol’ smile on your face, and that City Year can-do attitude?

Oh, I actually think about this a lot. I love our morning greetings. I love getting to smile at our kids, and most likely being the first smile they see in the morning. Even though some of them don’t even say good morning back, it’s so fun. And then there’s that student who never ever says good morning, he finally smiles and says it back…it’s the best thing ever!

Collectively, my team agrees that City Year has been, above all, eye-opening and reflective. We’ve gotten to thoroughly acknowledge the level of support our students truly need, while being asked to reflect on our own desires, talents and needs. Accepting a position with City Year Baton Rouge was exhilarating. Arriving here in July all the way from Massachusetts, I had no idea what I was getting myself into! The level of flexibility that City Year asks of its AmeriCorps members can be flustering, but with all things said and done, it’s the “squishy” things that turn us into resilient, fearless individuals capable of changing the world. 

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