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Zoomin’ Through a Pandemic

 

When I made my decision to serve with City Year for the 2020-2021 school year, I knew it would be hard but I didn’t expect to serve through a global pandemic. Although I expected difficulties to arise, I knew that deep in my heart this was even more reason to serve my community. Nevertheless, I am here, adapting to challenges and overcoming new obstacles!

This school year introduced a very different lifestyle than what I was used to last year when I was in college. I was used to routines, socializing, and working in person. Come this year and my world, like many people, has flipped upside down. Instead of following a set schedule and routine, this year is about making adjustments and catching the curve balls being thrown our way. Instead of following a set schedule, there are many changes due to COVID-19. Instead of socializing in person, we do it online through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and messaging. Instead of working in person, the place where I eat and sleep is now also my workplace. Adjusting to our new virtual life hasn’t been the easiest but I’m grateful for City Year’s guidance, patience, and passion for serving.

Serving virtually has caused my daily routine to look a little different than usual. Most days look a little something like this: wake up at around 7:15, brush my teeth, shower, the usual you know? After I get ready for the day, I’ll prepare a quick breakfast, which is usually something that doesn’t take more than two steps (this part hasn’t changed). At 8:00 a.m. First Circle begins where we meet as a team to share any Joys, Ripples, Laughs, Appreciations and Shoutouts we may have. After this, we have announcements and a refresher for our schedule that day. First Circle then ends and virtual classes begin promptly at 8:45 a.m. I click off Microsoft Teams, then click onto Zoom to meet with my partner teacher, the students, and fellow City Year member. Although the lesson may be the same for my classes throughout the day, each class brings a different set of ideas and questions.

My favorite part of classes is when students choose to share what they learn by speaking on the mic or sharing their answers in the chat box. Being able to hear from the students we serve makes my days brighter and brings me joy. Classes take place all day, with the exception of testing or my off periods. When I’m not in class, I’m doing my asynchronous work at my desk which may include creating new ideas for breakout groups with students, making attendance phone calls home to encourage students to attend their virtual classes, or completing tasks assigned to our team from my Team Leader or Impact Manager. A mix of classes and asynchronous work fills my day until 4:30 PM, where our team gathers in Final Circle to reflect and close out.

Serving online brings different obstacles such as: keeping myself accountable, making sure to take breaks, and keeping up with the information that floods through emails and messages. Although it may be a challenge, I am so glad I chose to serve my community this year. Despite these small obstacles I face every day, I choose to serve each day with a smile on my face giving 110% to my team and students in the classroom. Looking forward, I am excited to learn and grow with my team, an amazing group of individuals, knowing they are the best support system and friends I could ask for. I am excited to reflect a year from now. I’ll probably wish I knew a few things, probably have a lot of ups and some downs, and probably share many laughs and shed a few tears, but I am excited to learn, grow, serve, and love this year, in City Year.

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