So after graduation, I took a break from thinking about the long term and picked up my usual summer job. For the past three summers, I have spent my time in a classroom for students with Autism as a paraprofessional. It was the first time that I maintained a full-time job. For four weeks, I greatly enjoyed my time as a parapro, and it’s something that I’m happy I was able to do, but it was not a forever job. Knowing that this position was only temporary, I went back to the drawing board on the job hunt.
The job search was overwhelming because I had no idea what I wanted to do. I enjoyed my time with my internship in the nonprofit sector, but the positions that I wanted were nowhere to be seen or were at organizations I was not interested in. Then, I stumbled across a position online that caught my interest, which happened to be an AmeriCorps position. AmeriCorps had never been out of the realm of possibilities, but I didn’t think they had a position that quite fit. It turns out, I was happily incorrect; it opened a whole new world of possibilities. All the AmeriCorps VISTA positions caught my attention. I felt that AmeriCorps’ focus on capacity-building complimented my undergrad degree in Community Leadership where I gained communication and time management skills. The AmeriCorps positions seemed as though they would provide the hands-on experience I felt I was missing regarding those skills. I ended up applying to about nine openings and hearing back from two. One was the Community-AID Lab, where I could not be happier. I feel that I will be able to develop research and professional skills that I had previously been lacking. I was looking for a place that would be a good transition from school. While I am not in school anymore, I go to work at the university which keeps me in my comfort zone while gaining skills that take me outside that zone. The work we do every day allows me to incorporate what I learned in undergrad into the “real world.” We serve students and programs in Lansing and all the way to Florida. I’m so excited to support organizations whose projects are so inspiring. I can’t wait to see where this year leads me!