Monday, June 2, 2014

The Waiting Game - Part 1

This month, we'll hear from NCCC and FEMA Corps currently serving members and incoming candidates about their time waiting to start their service term. Will is currently serving with FEMA Green 3 out of the Pacific Region, and shares his waiting story below.

Will of FEMA Green 3 waited a few months
before arriving to serve in Sacramento.
The most nerve wracking part about anything in life is waiting. You wait for a college to accept you, you wait by the phone to hear if you are hired for a job, and you wait to find that special someone to be with for the rest of your life. My wait to hear from AmeriCorps was a mix of anticipation and anxiety. 

Having just graduated college, I wanted to celebrate my four years of sleepless nights, studying, and paper writing. When the green summer trees turned to an autumn orange and red, I began searching for a job, hopeful I would get hired soon. Luckily I was able to get a job at the local YMCA as a lifeguard as a means to have money until I could find a permanent job.

Then one day after a Columbus Day weekend in Vermont, my mom approached me with something called AmeriCorps. I had no idea what it was, but I gave it a shot and did some research. I thought to myself, "I have a great life, and that is because I live in a great country. I love to help people and it’s time for me to give back to the nation I love so much." After all my applications were sent in, I began to feel happy. That happiness turned into anxiety as weeks went by, but finally the day came; I was accepted into the AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps program in Sacramento, California. I was so happy; my future was opening up. I was excited to tell my folks and friends about what I was going to do in 2014. I had about three months to get ready to pack up and fly away across the country.

So, I had to do more waiting until I left for my term to begin. This moment in time became very important to me. This was a time of reflection. Prior to joining, I was depressed because I felt like a failure for not getting a job and moving out of my parents’ house, or for not going into graduate school like the majority of my friends. AmeriCorps was the thing that made me feel like I was doing something good and noble in my life.

One of my friends from Manhattan, New York wanted me to come up to see her so that we could have our day in the city before I left for a year. We had it all planed out, we would first go to the Museum of Natural History, then for dinner we would go to the world famous Sadri’s. When we arrived at the museum there was something special waiting for me.

When I walked through the doors there were all of my friends, both from college and from home, waiting me. It turned out this was all a set up for a surprise birthday/growing away party, all because I meant something to them.  It was without a doubt one of the best days of my life, and my eyes even got a little bit watery at times.

The reason why I am telling you this is because I learned a very important lesson during my time while waiting to be shipped off: you can’t define success by the amount of money you make, but by the lives that you touched.

The night before I left for California, my best friend wanted to hang out. Since I had an early flight I didn’t want to stay up too late. We chilled and watched Animal House as our last 'bro-time' before my flight. It was a bittersweet moment. Then we said our good byes and I prepared for the trip. While getting on the plane, I was both exited to start a great adventure and prepared to accept the fact that I would not see my friends and family for a long time. I put on my favorite the song “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake, all those worries disappeared; an incredible adventure waited for me.

If you would like more information about AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA Corps, or are interested in applying, please visit: www.nationalservice.gov/nccc.
 
Brought to you by AmeriCorps NCCC, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
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