"Life is Calling..."

I braved the misty, unseasonably cool weather yesterday and ventured to the Peace Corps Headquarters for an information session.  I arrived late (or they started early…) so missed the introductory film, which I'd seen already.  The information session was a nice refresher of what I should expect from the application process and Peace Corps experience.

I first started the Peace Corps application during my senior year of college.  I had just found out that I hadn't been accepted to Stanford's PhD program (the director told me that most applicants had at least a Master's degree…shucks!) and wanted to secure another post school option.  After getting an offer I couldn't refuse from a master's program in DC, I shelved my half-completed application and focused on graduate school. 

In graduate school, I was reminded of my desire to pursue the Peace Corps.  My college buddy, Night Runner, entered the Peace Corps and I befriended Shimmy-Shimmy, a returned Peace Corps volunteer.  Both had great stories about the experiences and skills they acquired as a result of service.  I learned about (and cringed over) the challenges that they faced as volunteers--huge, tropical bugs, difficult homestays, and general cultural clashes.  Over time, I began to welcome the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual challenges I would face as a volunteer.  It seemed like the ultimate way to combine my desire to live abroad with my dedication to service.  Plus, it seemed to offer an opportunity to grow and learn more about myself and the world in a way that no other short-term experience could.  I started my Peace Corps application for the second time after I finished grad school and encountered D.C.'s tough job market.  So on thereafter, I was offered my current position at a great non-profit, and willingly shelved my application for the comfort of a regular paycheck, a one-bedroom apartment, and solid work benefits.

After over a year of working at my non-profit, once again the urge to be challenged has resurfaced.  I've thought about teaching English abroad, moving to NYC, or going to school in CA as alternatives to the Peace Corps.  Although I know that each of these options would be great life experiences, they wouldn't match the Peace Corps--plus I could always pursue them when I returned.  I feel that the time is now for the Peace Corps--I'm single, debt-free, childless, young, and undeniably open to a change.
I've already reactivated my Peace Corps application and anticipate tackling the application soon.  Hopefully, by next summer or fall, I'll be packing my bags for the experience of a lifetime.

No comments: