When I graduated from DePaul University last June 2009 with a degree in Political Science and zero desire to go to law school, I was worried. What to do with the upcoming months of my life as I figured out a plan for my future? I certainly wanted a professional experience, but not SO professional that I would be thrust into a maelstrom of bottom lines, hierarchy and business suits. I wanted to continue my activism and follow the trajectory of non-profit work that I had been on for four years. But not SO activisty that I would be organizing protests, getting arrested and burnt out. I wanted the chance to go to graduate school at some point, but didn’t yet know what I would study. For a die-hard planner, this uncertainty was agonizing!
I came across the AmeriCorps website and was happy to find a position at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter for which I felt I had under my belt the work experience necessary. I was excited for the chance to work in the area of homelessness, a topic I had studied in college, but had little hands on experience. Luckily, this has turned out to be a great fit for me! I am so thankful for a job in which I receive just the right amount of supervision and have constant support from my co-workers. My job responsibilities are appropriate for my skill sets, and the challenges I face day to day are manageable and exciting. There is never a doubt in my mind that I am providing a necessary service to people in need, and that I really am fighting poverty! This immersive experience into a non-profit organization (and such a high level one at that) has helped cement my future plans. I’m thrilled to be starting graduate school at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in the fall! Thank goodness for the AmeriCorps*VISTA program and the “grace period” it gave me between college and the next step in my professional development. This “grace period” has been more enjoyable and rewarding then I could have hoped.
For more information on AmeriCorps, please visit http://www.americorps.gov/
--Katie McNamara, LPCS Volunteer Coordinator and AmeriCorps*VISTA