Written by Cole Livings, proud AmeriCorps member serving on the Claiborne Elementary School team.

May 23, 2014. The day I had been waiting for my entire school experience-- Graduation Day! It was the first time that I cried uncontrollably, with no end in sight. Looking back, I still do not know if they were tears of joy or sadness, but I knew it was the last day I saw all of my 63 classmates at David Thibodeaux STEM Magnet Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana.

I was one of many teenagers who did not know exactly what they wanted to do after high school. All I was sure of, however, was that I did not want to go to school immediately after graduation. I knew that I would head back eventually, and attend a program in New York or Los Angeles to major in Fashion Styling, but I just did not know when or where I wanted to go to school.

It was at a family gathering when I learned about City Year Baton Rouge from their Admissions Manager, Kaelysia Woods. At first, I was not sure if City Year would be right for me. I had never wanted to be a teacher, had no background in education, nor was I particularly interested in school at this point- I had just graduated!  After the initial conversation with Kaelysia, I thought I had an idea about City Year, but like our Putting Idealism To Work tip #112 says, “City Year is Not What You Think It Is.” After reading more on City Year’s website, the role modeling and mentoring aspect of service is what led me to apply, and I was accepted to serve.

July 27, 2014 was my first real taste of adulthood- the day I dedicated myself to ten months of volunteer service. These first months of service have been long and exhausting, but the experience will benefit every corps member in the end, especially me and my next chapter in life. Patience is a constant struggle that I am still having, but it is a goal of mine to work on patience while working with others. The past three months have helped develop me professionally by helping me to meet deadlines and stay organized, which will help me in my LACY (Leadership After City Year) path- whatever that may end up being.  

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