Monday, August 13, 2012

“From small beginnings come great things.”

As some of you may recall, the last time I created a blog was when I was studying abroad in Cameroon, Africa. I cannot believe that it's been two years since I departed for my semester abroad. In some ways a lot has changed since then, but in other ways, things remain quite similar. Alas. I am beginning a new adventure worthy of documentation.

The reason I have decided to create a new blog is because in just a few days I will be leaving for Philadelphia for ten months as an Augustinian Volunteer. Instead of immediately entering the workforce or going onto graduate or law school, I have decided to do a year of domestic post graduate service.

I had a lot of difficulty deciding just what I wanted to do when I graduated. Luckily, though, I had several different opportunities. I was accepted as a NYC Teaching Fellow, where I would spend two years earning a Masters degree in Education and working as a middle or high school math teacher in NYC. I was accepted into graduate school for International Relations at Syracuse University and Boston University. I was accepted into an experiential graduate program in sustainable development with SIT, the study abroad office I traveled with. I was also accepted into a couple of other service opportunities, including a year in South Africa with the Augustinian Volunteers. So what made me choose domestic work in Philadelphia?

Well, I guess there are a couple of reasons. Logistically, if I decide to go onto graduate school next year (I deferred my options) domestic service will conclude the end of June so I can start school in the fall. However, the major reason I chose to stay domestic was an experience I had this past March in Camden, NJ. Stonehill College offers alternative spring break trips called HOPE trips. This past year I went to Camden for a week. I was not sure what to expect, as most of my focus has always been on the global world and poverty and development abroad. Spending time in Camden really shook me to my core and showed me just how much need there is for development even in the U.S. I was not ignorant to this fact per se, as I have previously done a trip to Tennessee and spent a week after Christmas in the Bronx for a service trip, but it was surely eye-opening. After spending a semester in Cameroon I made a decision that I wanted a career focused in international development or international law, but I think before I venture onto this path I need to spend some more time in my own country assessing needs and gaining experience.

As an Augustinian Volunteer I will be working with Philadelphia VIP as a paralegal. My specific focus will be legal issues surrounding homelessness. I will be working directly with clients and volunteer attorneys and even have the opportunity to attend court on a weekly basis. I have always had a keen interest in law, and so this position combines law with social justice, which is another great passion of mine. I will be living with two other girls in an apartment in Philly who are doing different full-time positions, as the program focuses heavily on community living. Orientation starts in a week from today. I am a bit nervous about the religious focus, to be honest, as I consider myself somewhat religious, however for me service has always been somewhat separate from my Catholic identity. I think the next ten months will be just what I need to develop and grow both as an individual and member of society before I decide just where my life is heading...

So join me on my newest adventure :) T-minus seven days until Philadelphia, PA!

Here's the link to the Augustinian Volunteers website:
Here's a link to the Philadelphia VIP website: