Thursday, October 22, 2009

The start of VISTA service.

Fresh out of school with a degree in anthropology left me with a new perspective on the world, several new ideas, and an unwavering optimism that I could do something to change the world. The kind of major that often resulted in the much feared, “That’s great but what are you going to do with it?” question.

Starting at Generations Incorporated as the Recruitment VISTA has been an eye-opening opportunity for me. I’ve been learning a lot about what seems to work and what doesn’t with recruiting volunteers, which is challenging yet exciting. I am surrounded by several intelligent and optimistic AmeriCorps members, all excited in their own ways for learning about their position, the organization, non-profits, et cetera. We are here for a year or two (or even three if we get hooked), but then we move on to take the skills and experience that we have acquired and move to our next step in life.

As I adapt to the social environment of serving in an office, I have noticed the difference between the staff and myself. The difference that I am noticing is that while I’ve come here with my idealistic, unwavering, fresh-out-of-college kind of optimism, they have a different kind of optimism. It is a sort of grounded optimism. It is the kind of optimism that has been challenged with the reality of running a non-profit (especially in this economy) and pulled through.

Being around these kind of resources, mentors, supervisors, who are so excited to help us all learn and develop our skills and develop ourselves as people has made me realize something about this experience. I may not figure out exactly what I am going to do in the future in a year, but I’m going to have a much better idea of how I am going to do it.

2 comments:

Marythefifth said...

For me, as a staff member, the energy that I muster, the idealism that I bring, the spirit that I share, all of this and more, come in part from the AmeriCorps and VISTA members who walk into our office new, many from distant places, young and old alike, wanting to contribute, and yearning to learn.

Thank you Dan for a beautiful post, and know that the feeling is mutual.

Maddie said...

I can definitely relate to the part about graduating with an Anthropology degree and facing the dreaded question of "so what are you going to do with that?" I'm starting to realize more and more that the question should really be "what can't you do with that?"