Straying from the Norm


It’s 5:45 in the morning.

The sun is in no hurry to rise. The dark sky stretches on for miles and the earth appears flat. Dawn reflects off of the puddles left by last night’s thunderstorm. The cool air cradles my face and coaxes my sleepy bones to wake up because it’s time for physical training.

Last week, I swapped the east coast for the west coast; I stripped off my street clothes and stepped into a government uniform and a pair of black steel-toed boots; and I left behind two jobs that provided a decent amount of money for one job that pays a small, yet generous stipend.

I began a 10-month journey as a member of AmeriCorps NCCC-FEMA Corps for the Pacific Region in Sacramento, CA. In the next couple of weeks, my nine team members and I will be trained as individual assistants who will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local communities to support disaster survivors in their times of need.

How did I end up here?

It’s been a tough transition from the academic world to this “real world” in which I can feel the pressures to conform to standards such as almost immediately finding a “real job” and making a lot of money. I found myself at a crossroads after graduating college last year because I had just returned from traversing the globe with Semester at Sea. During those four months, I developed long-lasting friendships and saw things that most people have not seen and might never see in their lifetime. How could I begin to top or even replicate such an experience? My life wasn’t meant to be standard. I’m destined to choose the paths that are less traveled.

My desire to do more, see more and be more far exceeds any desire that I have to become wealthy or powerful. My life is glamorous because I do my best to gratefully live each day happy and at peace. I strive to connect with others and to appreciate the little things. I am successful and accomplished when I promote optimism and generate smiles. The latter combined with my passions for traveling and helping others drives me to serve with AmeriCorps.

And I’m glad I did because I’m surrounded by positive and passionate people. This year will be emotionally and physically challenging, but I’m confident that it will be one of the most rewarding years. I hope that you’ll follow me as I embark on my next adventure.

(FYI: There will be circumstances in which I am not authorized to disclose information.)

This blog is used as a vehicle through which I express my personal opinions that are not affiliated with AmeriCorps NCCC and FEMA.

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One Response to Straying from the Norm

  1. Tom LePore says:

    I am drawn to the statement that your life was not meant to be standard. I have had the honor of seeing you blossom into the amazing woman that you are and in doing so you have never been standard. You are a bright light in the darkness, a cool breeze on a hot day and a smile when the day seems to be at its worst. You were created to make a difference and the fact that you have embraced that gives me great joy and solace that the world can be a better place.

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