Finally, my car is all packed with barely any room for my roommate’s things when I pick them up, I’m on my fourth cup of coffee, and my mom has almost emptied the entire box of tissues. In about ten more minutes I will finally be on my way to pick up my roommate in Philadelphia and then start the long two-day drive down to Miami for my new job. As I rethink everything I packed to make sure I won’t leave anything behind, I hug my mom for the 12th and final time. I didn’t really have a choice in the matter seeing as she has been following me around since she woke up and is still asking me not to go. A part of me is eagerly excited to move far away from home for the first time and another part of me wants to stay with my family and friends. However, the pull for something new is just too strong as I let go of the embrace and head off in a new direction.
Fast forward five months, when I left my childhood home what feels like forever ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. The only thing I knew about City Year when I applied and then later decided to join was that they are passionate about the work they provide students and they are willing to try and make a difference in the educational world. What I did not realize is that City Year is so much more.
When I first came to Miami I thought the only person I would know was my roommate. I’m a friendly, out-going person, but I honestly had no idea how I was going to make friends and I was scared. Cue BTA. In the first week, City Year shoved ten people in my face and basically said these people will be your friends for the rest of your time in Miami. Some of the closest friends I made in City Year happened those first two weeks with my IJ team. I’ve even gone so far as to coin a new term for one its members. I will now, forever and always, have a CY Bae. And I’m positive that CY Bae and I will keep in touch for years and years to come.
Then it felt like the whole world came crashing down. I was told the IJ teams were not actually our school teams. How could City Year do this to me? Was I going to end up with CY Bae? Answer: no. There were no other corps members from my IJ team on my school team, except for my amazing Team Leader. Even though I was upset, the thought of giving up and moving back to Pennsylvania, never even crossed my mind. I had already fallen in love with the amazing culture, the crash course in educational best practices, and City Year in general. I would have to make the most of it.
Fast forward again, this time to the end of December. I just finished buying my plane ticket back to Pennsylvania for winter break. I cannot believe how fast time has flown these past few months. Much to my mother’s dismay, the pain of homesickness has not had much of an affect on me and I find myself being really happy here in Miami. My fear about being yanked away from my new friends at the end of BTA was unfounded and silly. I still talk to my IJ team, but my school team and the students at my school are really what makes Miami so special.
When you join City Year they try to tell you how challenging the work may be, but no one ever really knows what to expect. There are good days, there are bad days, and there are really bad days, but just one inspiring student and my team make every day turn into a great one. One thing that City Year doesn’t tell you is the amazing stories you will create and amazing people you will meet. Simply put, my students and my team are the joy of my life here in Miami. I won’t share all of the great stories I have about my students or my team, because there are too many to list, but I will say this first half of the school year has been wonderful. And I look forward to the many more memories that I will make with the people I have met through City Year.