I wandered around the career fair aimlessly. Per usual, almost none of the employers had anything to do with public health, and as a senior public health major, I was frustrated. I almost didn’t even approach the Peace Corps table because frankly, it scared the crap out of me. But I skeptically went over and took a free pen as Christian told me about the Peace Corps info session later that day. You should check it out, he said. I felt a twinge of guilt as I entered the small, stiflingly hot classroom because I was skipping Frisbee practice to attend. I joked with Mongo that I had to go because it’s my lifeeee! But I had no real intention of joining the Peace Corps. It’s too unrealistic, too long, too far, and too dangerous. But I watched the propaganda video. I asked questions. I read the booklet. And I realized the opportunity I had in front of me: to do REAL public health out of college, to travel, to learn a language, to…let’s be honest here, have a job. So, over the next few months, I worked on my application and submitted it in December of my senior year.
So much energy went into this process. I waited for months to hear from Peace Corps. During the application process, the Peace Corps evolved from this thing that I was scared of, to this thing that I wanted so badly, to an invitation to Nicaragua. I became an aspirante, a Spanish-speaker, a daughter of a new family. And finally, a year and a half after I walked into that career fair, I became a Volunteer.
This was my attempt to show you how much this all means to me. It’s been a process. The Swearing-In Ceremony on April 1 represented way more than the completion of 3-months of training. It represented the culmination of a year and a half of hard work, and finally, finally, finally, marks the beginning of my two-year journey. Here we go.