My name is Maggie Dobek and I am an AmeriCorps Member serving as a proud Team Leader of the Wells Fargo Team at the Edward H. White Military Academy of Leadership (a High School). I am currently serving my second year as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Jacksonville. Throughout my service, I have had the privilege of working with extremely diverse groups of people, teaching students algebra, leading a team of AmeriCorps Members, and learning more about myself than I could have ever imagined.
Every day, I work to teach students to solve for X, to set goals for their future, and to be confident in themselves. However, for every lesson I teach them, I learn something in return. Here are several of the most important lessons that I will be taking with me in my life after City Year:
1) Not everyone you work with will have the same views, goals, or work styles as you. Learn to look for strengths in others, and use those strengths to produce stronger outcomes.
2) True friendships can come from someone who you least expect, that is why it is important to get to know the people around you.
3) It is okay to have weaknesses. No one is great at everything. You can become your best self by utilizing your strengths, identifying your weaknesses and actively working to get better at those things.
4) When you commit to something, take that commitment seriously, especially when that commitment involves serving students. No matter what else is happening in life, as AmeriCorps Members we have an obligation to serve our students to the best of our ability.
5) Grit and perseverance can take you much further than any other qualities.
6) Food is always a great incentive, no matter the recipient, student or adult.
7) Displaying feelings of empathy and grace do not signify weakness--it takes true strength to display them.
The last 19 months have changed my life in many ways, some drastic and some subtle, but I know I am better off having served with City Year. At City Year, I found myself working in my passion, learning to exemplify values of empathy and excellence, and learning to be my best self as a young professional and young adult. It is easy to think that the most important parts of an educational organization are the lessons you teach, but as is true with any difficult, wonderful, exciting, exhausting, indescribable experience, I believe the most important parts have been the lessons I’ve learned.