Peaks and Troughs

Ever since I’ve been accepted to the Peace Corps, people have asked me “Are you nervous?” It’s a hard question to answer. I’m ecstatic that I’m going to be serving a higher purpose (and not a bottom line) and that I am going to be making a real difference. Sometimes this confidence comes crashing down and replaced by shear utter fear. I’m about to leave everything familiar to me and move to a country whose language I don’t speak and where I don’t know anyone to perform an ambiguous task. These feelings/realizations ebb and flow constantly. My biggest fear is I will move to Bulgaria and I won’t be able to complete my task.

Community development is such a vague sector. I could be developing after school program or writing grants for a museum or helping state and local government communicate better or working with the elderly. I have no idea. I also have no idea why I was selected for this program. I suppose the uncertainty and deep reflection is all part of the Peace Corps experience. Sometimes I wonder if I would be more suited to teaching English (more structure) or agriculture (physical results). Agriculture just seems so arrogant. If I were to go to a country with this PC program, the people I would be interacting with would probably have lived in the area for hundreds if not thousands of years. And here I am, a twenty-something suburban kid straight out of college with three months experience teaching them how to till their fields! On the other hand, I don’t want to be responsible for killing an entire crop!

All this aside, I think this is the program for me. Although the program is expansive I think I will be able to find my niche. I mean, most (if not all) the experience I have listed on my resume deals with policy in one form or another. And this is the field that works with NGOs.

Regardless, it will be an experience. While other people settle down in their jobs and get comfortable as they work for retirement, I will be out in the world making a real difference (or so I hope!)

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One Response to “Peaks and Troughs”

  1. Shaun Wood Says:

    Hello,
    My name is shaun. I found your blog doing a google blog search. I will be going to Bulgaria and meeting you next week in Philly. (you are staging in philly, right?) I share your concerns about being an effective volunteer. It is so hard to imagine what the conditions of our jobs will be and how we will work with those conditions since we know nothing about what we will be doing. Anyway, I look forward to meeting you next week.

    peace!
    -Shaun Wood

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