Life happened and I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like to (or at all since week 1, for that matter). But today is an important day, and there has to be something in here about it!
So for now: I will be PROUDLY serving the 7th grade at the Harbor Middle School in Dorchester, Ma! After weeks of training and meetings with teachers, today is the first day of school and I will finally get to meet my students. I have already learned alot from being here (more on this later).
I woke up today (at 4:30!!) thinking how much I’ve been anticipating this day since I first was accepted to this program. I am excited, but there are definitely butterflies.
Here we go.
After everything that’s happened since I got here, I can’t believe the first week of Basic Training Academy is over. Although I enjoyed the week, it felt long. Each day, I was awake and actively using my mind for much longer than I am accustomed to- at least I’m being eased into becoming an early riser! I was ready to go on the first day:
Snooze? I don’t think so!
We started off the week with a physical service day at the JFK Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. I absolutely loved the feeling of building something from scratch that will actually be used in the school. My partner, Travis, and I were responsible for building a bench that will be used in an outdoor science classroom. Check it out:
In the works!
The finished product.
At the end of the day, it was great to see the school completely transformed! My fellow corps members painted murals inside and outside of the school, contributed to the school’s community garden, and carried out many other projects to create a better learning environment for the students.
Later that week, we were asked to write statements on why we chose to serve. The senior corps members all shared their statements, and hearing their stories was so powerful. I found it profound that despite the fact that everyone had a unique reason for serving, we are all here, united for a common cause. I am posting my statement here, as a reminder to myself when things undoubtedly get tough:
My favorite event of the week was a scavenger hunt through Boston. Since I’ve been so busy working on applications, I haven’t gotten too much of a chance to explore my new city- this was a perfect place to start. We were given a list of clues and had to find various points in Boston, and document the journey with our teammates on Instagram. If you want to check out all the pictures from the day from the entire Corps, search the hashtag #meetboston on IG. Here are my favorite pictures of the day:
Team Love and Joy!
Through the week, I really enjoyed getting to know my founding team. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment transitioning to our service teams next week! But for now, I’m looking forward to Basic Training Retreat! Hartford, Connecticut, here I come!
I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours.
Out of all the CY founding stories we learned about today, this one resonated with me the most. The concept of Ubuntu describes the idea that we are all connected. Despite our different backgrounds, there is always a common ground that we have to work to find. Ubuntu embodies the ideals of inclusivity, respect, and compassion: so important for building a strong community that impacts positive change.
Still trying to figure out this tumblr thing! My post got deleted so here I go again. -___-
Well, Boston sure has given me an interesting welcome! I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve already gained some life lessons.
I arrived at the Boston Logan Airport already incredibly exhausted, my 12AM red-eye flight having been delayed to 2AM. I didn’t say much in my last post, because quite honestly, I was incredibly nervous about what was to come. I received a call from my roommates the previous evening telling me how awful our apartment was. As I drove up to the apartment, my heart pounded- how bad could it be?
Pretty bad. The area seemed neglected and run down. The front door to our building didn’t lock, and we found out later from a cop stationed on our street that the area was a hotspot for crime and drug activity. Just the previous night, the person in charge of maintenance advised my roommates not to go out after 5pm. Needless to say, we wanted to be in a place where we felt safe and could have peace of mind walking home at night.
I went to registration day for City Year the next day seriously unsure of whether I would be able to continue with the program. What would I do if I couldn’t find a place in the next week? I was completely conflicted as the day progressed. I met some amazing people and was absolutely blown away by the energy and culture that City Year brought to the day. The entire time, I tried to push back the thought that I might have to go back home if things didn’t pan out.
The next few days were some of the most stressful I’ve ever experienced. Which is saying something, as anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I am a complete stress case. We looked at dozens of apartments, talked to more realtors then I ever want to again in my life, but at the end of it all, we found a place! I couldn’t be happier with the location. It’s in Brighton, which is where a lot of young college-age students live. It’s close to restaurants, grocery stores, and most importantly, the T! The commute will be about an hour to my school site, but its definitely worth it. Besides, some time in the morning and evening to read or reflect will be a nice change.
The huge takeaway: Don’t sign a lease without seeing the place first! Seriously. A skype tour doesn’t cut it either. Pictures can be edited. Realtors are just out to make money. You need to get a feel for the area around your apartment. The list goes on. With the money we lost terminating our original lease, it would have been more than worth it to make a trip over to Boston and find a place we were comfortable with in the first place. Or at the very least, we should have gotten someone we knew to see this particular place. I know I will never make the same mistake again, although I hate to say I learned it the hard way.
In all the stress of the week, I didn’t take a single picture to share here. But I did get a nifty new backpack! The nerd in me got excited :)
I could not be more grateful for this amazing opportunity. Day 1 is in two days, and I’m excited for what’s to come!
Well, here it is. For months and months, Boston has seemed like this far off plan. But it’s currently 8:10 PM, and I am leaving for the airport in a couple of hours.
A few weeks ago I posted an Instagram photo of my registration reminder email with the caption “a little scared, a lot excited.” Well the nerves are building!
I don’t think there’s any way I’m getting sleep on this plane ride tonight.