Rebecca’s AmeriCorps VISTA Year of Service [Part 2/2]
Today’s post is part of a two-part series on AmeriCorps. Rebecca is currently working at the Center for Investigative Reporting as the Business Marketing Coordinator. She found out about GYG through a fellow Model United Nations member, Harrison Gill. You can contact her HERE.
So you’re thinking about AmeriCorps? Let me win you over!
If you’re thinking about doing AmeriCorps, stop thinking and do it.
Transferable skills: Each project will undoubtedly give you different skills and experiences. Depending on what skills you want, you can most likely find a program that will contribute to the strengthening of those. I enhanced my marketing skills, organizational skills, and customer service skills. I also grew more confident in voicing my opinions and sharing ideas, and lastly, learned how to analyze programs, find the inefficiencies, come up with solutions and implement them. A word of advice: talk to your supervisor about your aspirations and goals, they are there to mentor and guide you so you can accomplish them.
New friends & mentors: Since we were a pretty small team I definitely bonded with my co-workers as we all embarked on our own financial planning, while developing a program from ground zero that would benefit the larger public. I also made friends with AmeriCorps people stationed in different organizations around my area. The great thing was, we could all go out and be cheap together, because none of us could afford anything too fancy! They also became a great support system outside of service.
Addressing your concerns:
“I won’t get paid enough to live comfortably.” The people at AmeriCorps are pretty smart people, and they make sure you get paid according to the cost of living of the place you’re stationed. You can make it work, but definitely take a good look at your own situation and see what you’ll need to survive.
“I’m not going to like the job and then will be stuck in it for a year.” Before you apply to a certain position, research the organization and read the description thoroughly. Also, know that you will have an extensive interview process, at which time you’ll learn more about the org and the position and will be able to talk to your future supervisor. Lastly, if you really don’t feel comfortable there after you’ve started, you can talk to the agency and AmeriCorps HR to discuss the possibility of transferring or leaving.
“I’ll be lonely and scared in a brand new place.” Make sure you do your research beforehand. You should get a good feeling about the area from finding it on Google maps. Try to be open-minded; brand new places can make you feel lonely, but they can also fill you with excitement and adventure and give you new opportunities to make friends and learn something new.
In conclusion, the most important step in applying for AmeriCorps is doing the research to find a program(s) that you’re really interested in. As you have seen from my previous blog post, interest can quickly turn into a passion and make your job feel more like a calling! Not only did I learn a lot about personal finance at SparkPoint Marin, but I also made great friends, learned how to live on my own for the first time, and came away equipped with great transferable skills and experience.