For those who have been rudely ignoring me (*ahem* all of you), I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Pawtucket high schools, Tolman and Shea. Though I am getting paid, this is more of a volunteer position. Our goal is to connect juniors and seniors with jobs, internships, college resources, etc. It isn’t as easy as it sounds.
To keep it fun, I’ve already begun to infuse my ridiculousness. I looked at two students today and said, “I probably shouldn’t say this but…there’s a chance you might make a mistake.”
They looked at me, wide-eyed.
“A lot of us make mistakes. Picking the wrong school or major isn’t the end of the world, though. It’s okay.”
I figured I’d give the girls some truth. Or maybe I’m just bitter and cynical. I dunno, you tell me.
It is my job to expose them to different colleges and majors and careers and anything that will help them transition into the adult world. I want to encourage them to dream big, way bigger than what they have believed possible. It is also my duty, I believe, to prepare them for reality. You cannot predict, at 18, how your decisions now will affect you at 25. You do not know all there is to know, you’re 18. Some of us pick colleges or jobs that turn out to be what we expected – and more; others, not so much. There is no outline, no guide, no guru. The Oprah channel is a bunch of shit, don’t believe it. Life is not fair (*Mr. Schanck as he points to the poster on the wall*).
In 2005 I thought I was the bee’s knees and that I didn’t need college or a job or “the man” to be something. Turns out, that was a lie (*Maury Povich voice*). We all need a future. We have to feed our families, pay our bills, contribute to society. It took me two years of straight boozing, two years of total ass kicking at CCRI, three years of exhausting commuting to and from Boston, and a few months having a heck of a hard time finding a job to be where I am today. No one told me that I would graduate from a private university and be unemployed. No one told me my incredible looks weren’t enough to get me hired as a director of communications. Rude. Actually, yes, they did say it, but I’m as dense as a rock.
Fortunately, I now have a role that I enjoy, in the field of my preference, trying to make a difference within a demographic that is severely underserved. It is low-paying, however, so I need to supplement it somehow (and selling my body on Craigslist wasn’t working, obvi). So today I found myself in an interview for a weekend job answering “What are your plans for the future?”
Um. I might as well have driven into a wall at a buck fifty. Um. For some reason I hadn’t thought they would ask me that. I could literally feel the confusion on my face. I was tempted to respond with “I’m grown. Why are you asking me this?” But the truth is, I am not sure what will happen after my year with AmeriCorps is over. Will I serve another term? Will I be able to snag an awesome job? Will I travel? Will I write a book of short stories? I felt like an 18-year-old on a first interview. The voices in my head weren’t letting me think and my ass was getting sweaty. I answered as best I could.
I should get to thinking about it, though, for the sake of my future, but my head hurts and I have a knot in my neck, man. I’m just trying to make it to Friday. I can’t possibly know how my life will be in 5 years, much like 5 years ago I had no idea where I’d be now.
Anyway, after sharing a bit about myself, one of the girls said, “Wow, so it’s like you are going through what we are!”
Exactly. And will I make mistakes? You bet.