One of the things I think about often is, how did we all end up here together in this program? What would life look like if I hadn’t decided to take the leap to move to LA for a “year or service”? Some of my EUIP friends thought this would be a great next step right after graduating college, a few others like myself spent a year or two exploring life after college and then decided to take this opportunity and a handful decided the month before or even in LESS time than that took the leap and committed to this program.
My story is that I found interest in this program around November of last year. I spoke of my options with my loved ones and decided I needed to apply. (I’ll admit I put it off for about 2 months because I dreaded writing the essays). Late January at the Daycare I was working full time at, I had just gotten all four of my one year olds to sleep when I felt my phone buzz. I saw in the subject line “Congratulations” and I began to tear up immediately. I felt that this was exactly what I was called to do! After an interesting post grad year wandering around trying to find some direction, it felt good to have some. Around February I got a call from “Communities in Schools” a non profit, dropout prevention program for elementary through high school students. I had interned there my last semester of college and I felt at the time that it was my dream job. This February I would have my 3rd interview with a principal for this program. Now I was confused about what I really wanted- BUT I didn’t get the job. I continued working at the Daycare. Come April, I got another call from Communities in Schools and had my fourth interview with a principal. I got the job. It was now late April and the program started in August. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Every week, even sometimes every other day I changed my mind about what direction my life should take. I was giving myself, my friends, and my family whiplash with my back and forth decisions. Should I continue with the salary job focused in Social Work or should I leave what I know behind, move to Los Angeles and live on a stipend?
I don’t remember the exact moment I decided, but I think I knew all along in my heart that I knew what was right. “With growth comes discomfort.” It was uncomfortable to leave my college town (that I still love with all my heart) and my very close friends. I was uncomfortable in the uncertainty that I would like the program at all, that I would get along with the people here, and I worried that once I had moved here I would have thought “I should have decided to stay.”
I’ve said many many times since being here that I am SO glad I made the right decision.
I’m only about 3 months into the program, but in that time I have grown so much. I can confidently take public transportation, I’m living in harmony with 7 other housemates, I’m learning to communicate effectively, I’m exploring my spirituality, I’m figuring out what I want for myself in the future. Life isn’t always “comfortable” here, but because of that I am growing. I’m generally exhausted by the end of the day from commuting and what ever I was doing at my service site and then there is more often times than not, another community obligation when I get home. The wonderful thing is that I’m not alone in this, I get to navigate this year and what it feels like to serve in LA with all of my friends in the program. This time last year I had no idea what my life would look like at this time, but I know that the Faith at the time would be extremely proud of herself for taking the leap… and Faith in the here and now is proud too.
Voices of Service
These are reflections from corps members and alumni of Jubilee Year and the Episcopal Urban Intern Program. They cover topics ranging from the sun, fun and friends in in Los Angeles to the uncensored experiences of serving vulnerable populations in our beautiful city. These are Voices of Service. For more, go through our archives below