The top question on my list of post-grad summer FAQs is, “are you ready?”
When I see old friends, their parents, members of the church I grew up in, the conversation for a recent post-grad quickly turns into what’s next. Some have heard and some are just finding out that on August 21, I will embark on a year of service with the Presbyterian Church in Chicago. While in Chicago, I will work for a nonprofit, New Moms, whose primary focus is to interrupt the cycle of poverty by equipping new moms with sustainable support and tools to find a place to live and a job while aiding and supporting in the glory and challenges that come with motherhood and newborns.
I applied for the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program at the earliest application deadline. YAV is something I’d heard about from multiple people and YAV alum, some of whom mentioned that it would be a good program for me based on my interest and passion of putting my faith into action. I applied with the intention that this would be my thing after graduation. As I did interviews with various site coordinators and then received my site placement, it became more real and exciting. After more interviews, I was offered a position with New Moms which seemed like a perfect fit for me. Not only was I excited about the work that I would be doing in Chicago, but it was a real and legitimate answer to the dreaded question every soon-to-be-graduate gets about “what’s next.”
So, am I ready?
I’ve sincerely been telling everyone, “as ready as I can be.” I’ve spent the first 22 years of my life in Raleigh, North Carolina. Even when I went off to college, I chose NC State (one of my best decisions yet). But even during my college years, home and my family were never more than 15 minutes away. I’ve lived in three neighboring zip codes for as long as I can remember. In late August, I’m not only changing zip codes or states but changing time zones (it’s only an hour time difference but still!)
Most of my feelings in regard to this upcoming year have been clouded by my logistical worries and anxieties. How do I pack for a year? What does one wear to work at all – but especially in the Chicago winter? What kind of bag should I take to work? Where should I switch my pharmacy? What time will I need to leave for work to catch the bus(es)?
As I step back and try to put the logistical worries to the side, I’ve tried to reflect on what “being ready” for this year means.
I’m ready to dive into the unknown. I’m ready for a new place to call home. I’m ready for new experiences and looking forward to a year of challenging myself. Most of all, I am ready for a year of growth. So, I stand by my answer that I’m as ready as I can be.