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My first month at City Year

I have always been a planner. I am not the type of person to “wing it” or go into situations where I have no clue what the outcome might be. When I started high school, I knew exactly what college I wanted to attend and what I wanted to study, and I immediately started applying for scholarships, grants, and other aid to make sure I would be able to attend. When I went to college, I jam-packed my schedule as full as I could so that I could graduate in three years instead of four. And within the first month of my last year of college, I made sure to apply and interview at City Year so that I could begin working promptly after graduating. The dreaded “What are you doing to do after graduating?” question was one I loved because I had known my answer for the past four years. City Year was not an accident for me, nor was it a fateful meeting at a career fair; it was a deliberate choice that I had been scheming up for a while. I chose it because I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into.

I was very wrong. I thought City Year would be a quick year of helping out in classrooms, and then I’d be on my way to graduate school (another part of the “master” plan) to study school counseling. But the long hours, the surprise responsibilities, and the unique and amazing students have completely turned my idea of City Year, not to mention my own personal life plan, completely on its head. Lesson planning, behavior pull-outs, and multi-tiered support are not things that I expected when I entered City Year but are now some of my favorite parts. I knew that this organization was dedicated to helping young students, but the level of aid and the magnitude of information I have learned in the first two months alone is far beyond what I thought I would be participating in as an AmeriCorps member. City Year has not turned out to be the quick and simple job that I thought it would be, and I could not be happier about that fact. Instead, it is long, intense, and sometimes hard, but so incredibly rewarding. Through the relationships that I am developing with both students and my fellow AmeriCorps members, I am learning to slow down and be open to change rather than meticulously plan my entire life out. Through City Year, I am learning to think with a growth mindset and to not fear uncertainty. Through dedicating my life to service for a year, I am learning that I might want to change my course a little bit and explore how I can continue to help beyond this single year of service. City Year is an exciting and engaging program that not only helps young students throughout their school year but also opens many doors for the AmeriCorps members that serve. In such a short time, City Year has already changed my perspective and expanded my possibilities, and I am very excited to see the ways the rest of this year will change me.

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