I had a nightmare last night that I got rejected from all of the places I wanted to volunteer at (Peace crops, americorps, etc). Not a fun dream. I still can’t get over it. I think it has something to do with my boyfriend’s problems getting into med school. Also the experience of getting rejected from every internship last summer was a very painful wake-up call. In this economy, it’s hard to stay positive with back up plans, since it’s SO HARD to get a job. My only point of solace right now is that I have plans to enough math/statistics academic credits to get an entry-level statistician job in the govt. Of course competition is tough, but I will have both the skills and experience by the time I graduate.
I’m just so scared if I bottom out. At this point, the safety net of living with family is disappearing quickly. Being stuck in a minimum wage job at a grocery store while living in a not-so-great part of Chicago is a very real possibility at any point between now and getting into grad school.
I met with my old prof a few days ago and mentioned that I was planning to apply and he was very supportive! I’ve mentioned it before, but didn’t get much of a response. I guess now that I’m a junior my post-bac plans carry more weight in conversations. He will definitely be one of my references. I also plan to continue working with the homeless shelter and am going to ask my super about whether he would be willing to be a reference as well.
Hopefully I can get more volunteering experience by then! I have about 2-3 months at the homeless shelter. I also want to volunteer with a free clinic and/or hospital (not this semester, but maybe the spring or the fall). I’m thinking of applying here http://www.communityhealth.org/volunteer_opportunities/ once the semester winds down.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot, did some research, talked to my friend who is taking the class. I’m not sure if it’s a good match for me, unfortunately. I would love to do it if only 1) Tuition expenses were not an issue 2) I would be able to get an EMT job straight out of the course. None of those are true. Essentially, I would have to take an additional 2k in loans to pay for the class and then live at home after graduating college (!) while I ‘volunteer’ my time somewhere, because I will not have the experience to get a paying job. This is where my philosophy about careers come in.. people can do well at any job, granted that certain circumstances line up (ex: preference for flexibility/rigidity in the schedule, how important is being ‘helpful’ to people, etc). For my gap job, I would prefer something contract-based, I don’t care how low paying as long as it’s full time and minimum wage, and with a set schedule. So now I’m thinking more about the statistic jobs and maybe being a lab tech. My research partner seems to be warming up to me, so maybe I can do the networking thing that I’m not so great at, somehow.. In any case, I’m still planning on getting CPR certified, so I’ll still have some kind of qualification to show to the corps.
So, I emailed my recruiter about my citizenship issue and he replied that I can actually apply to the peace corps while being in the process of obtaining citizenship (thanks, nevadagirlamber!). This potentially means a much shorter “gap” period. I almost considered getting a short 1-year masters “just cuz” I have the huge gap. But it all depends on how the timeline pans out.. because I think that there are the fewest peace corps opportunities in the spring and the most in the fall. I will still probably get a job so that I’m stuck in my mom’s house after I graduate college (!).
I went to an info session yesterday and am once again inspired to do this goal! Just learning more about the possibilities for projects, the impact I could make (I didn’t know each community has 3 generations of volunteers!), and just making the whole entire program more concrete and less elusive, fueled me with desire to pursue it. Further.. I don’t feel this heavy weight of having to do something “extra” for the program. My recruiter emphasized that applicants should do things that they love and that apply to their career path, not worry about fitting to the peace corps ideal. He said, PC will fit your skills into its program, you don’t have to mold yourself to the program. I also love that there are secondary projects to apply to.. for example, with my academic/research background, I could be placed into teaching, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t start or participate in a secondary project that’s health-oriented.
With this in mind.. I still have to think about what I want to do during the gap between my undergrad and PC. Since I have to start the application a year before leaving, and I will only acquire citizenship right around the time I’ll graduate, I will probably have 9-12+ months to do “something.” I’m trying to figure out if EMT work will be the right thing, I’m not sure if I could keep up with the pressure. The other option I’m seriously considering is being an entry-level statistician, but would that be too boring for me? Both experiences have ties with my public health interests, but are so radically different, it’s almost unbelievable.
I’m also thinking about tutoring during undergrad, but I don’t know if I’m willing to commit the time yet, unless it’s paid. I’m a bit overwhelmed right now.
Peace Corps was my default option for after my undergrad degree.. but now I’m getting worried. What will I do for the several months where I can’t apply because I will be in the middle of my citizenship process? What if they don’t accept me? and… If I go through with it, what will I do after my service (while I’m applying to grad schools)? What if I get in, start to serve, then have to return for some reason, like getting sick?
I’m going to an info session at my school next week, but I’m also trying to look for other opportunities (there are a lot of “something”-corps…some are even paid!). I just know that I can’t head straight into grad school. I feel like I will burn out. But I’m even more afraid of going to have to rely on my parents to support me after getting my expensive undergrad education!
Here are the options I’m considering besides Peace Corps:
- Food Corps (paid, 1 yr)
- Community Health Corps (paid + education credit, 1 yr)
- teaching English abroad (need to attain a 2,000$ teaching certificate)
- global service corps (2,000 out of pocket for English teaching program then a guaranteed English teaching job)
Apparently I can apply for a passport in about a year, according to my mom. Of course she was talking about it because she wants to visit relatives, but that’s good news for me. So now I have options.. I need to decide where I will get medical experience (still thinking of being an EMT, but are there other options?), whether I will do peace corps first or in combination with my graduate degree, and whether I will take off a year before grad school if I decide to do a peace corps/grad school combination (because grad classes come before serving for 2 years). So much to think about…
I can go back to my comm college and get an EMT-B license, which takes one 8 credit class. The job pays barely above minimum wage, but it would get me experience that I need and at least it would be something more important and applicable than working retail. Plus.. what else would I do to get that experience..? Working at the hospital doing what, paperwork? That’s not really applicable. Hm.. depending on when I take the class, I could convince my mom to cover the fee or even apply for a scholarship. I’m considering taking the class this summer if the internship thing doesn’t work out, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the option. Plus, it’s not like I can be an EMT “part-time” during school, that would just ruin my painstakingly constructed schedule. Maybe the summer before or after Senior year.
This turn of events is kind of weird, because becoming an EMT or paramedic has already crossed my mind before, when I was thinking about what would happen if I dropped out of school. Deja vu?
I need something to do for 1-1.5 years before I can apply to the Peace Corps. I would rather not start graduate studies. I don’t know what direction I would go into, how I would pay for it, or if I even want to stay in the country.
I just thought of a possibility: I’ve been thinking about earning an EMT license to go on my resume for health-related experience. I don’t know exactly how this would fit in with my other academics, but if I do get that license, I can “use” it for that gap between my bachelor’s and PC. I don’t know though. I don’t think my new college even offers such a license.