I've never been happier now that my time belongs to me. My most recent birthday occured at the juncture of a wonderful and optimistic time in my life, yet it still became an emotional reflection of what I have done with my time.
While I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished, it has been difficult on an emotional, physical, and spritual level. Thinking that the 'best years of my life' were used doing something I didn't love breaks my heart (but I must mention that I didn't realize what my passion was until very recently...so, it's not like I had a true sense of direction either).
I'm as hopful now as I was 10 years ago to embark on a new adventure in my life, but the difference is that the feeling in my stomach is more of an excited butterfly feeling, rather than the gut-wrenching dread I distinctly remember feeling (over and over again).
Being a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I know that my Coast Guard experience was a wonderful stepping stone for Peace Corps (and beyond). Below is my Aspiration Statement:
A. I see myself as a facilitator of development who will bring new perspective, ideas, and solutions. My goal will be to work with project partners to provide them the support they need for enduring positive impact. I hope that my Pre-Service Training (PST) and my past professional experience will give me a solid foundation from which to provide the support that is needed. I am eager to learn more about my assignment in the Peace Corps, and will dedicate the time it takes learn my job and build relationships with project partners and my community. My strongest professional attribute is my determination to reach goals. I look forward to life in Mexico, where I will adapt to new environments, learn new processes, and meet new people.
B. I intend to familiarize myself with the Peace Corps’ standard operating procedures for the host country, and work within the established process to facilitate objectives. I understand the value of repetitive communication (verbal, written, electronic etc) and its link to better understanding, so I will try to minimize barriers to communication inherent in language and culture, by repeating the message in different ways. Building professional partnerships through conscientious attention and personal motivation has been an important asset in my experience. I believe that building rapport and alliances through personal loyalty are valued traits and will help achieve the program’s success.
C. Adapting to a new culture will be full of excitement, confusion, and mistakes, but most importantly: understanding. There are subtle differences in each country’s culture that can only be understood through interaction and observation. I plan to learn as much as I can about Mexican culture before I depart for Staging and during PST, but I know that I will learn the most through my interactions with my host family and project partners in Mexico. I will try my hardest to use on my intuition and situational awareness to integrate into my new culture.
D. I hope to gain the following knowledge, skills & abilities from PST: a better understanding of Peace Corps’ impact in Mexico; practice good health and safety techniques to avoid sickness; become knowledgeable about local business customs; learn new technical skills and be able to impart those skills to project partners; adapt my Spanish for effective communication in Mexico; interact with local officials, NGO representatives, and community leaders; AND develop an esprit de corps with fellow Peace Corps Trainees & Volunteers.
E. In the end, I hope to look back on my Peace Corps experience with a newly defined sense of direction for my life. My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in an Environmental Education & Community Outreach project will give me a practical insight to environmental issues and their solutions. At this point, I intend dedicate my future endeavors towards the preservation and conservation of our natural resources. To that end, I intend to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science or Conservation Social Science from the University of Idaho. I believe that my personal and professional hopes are tied to my goals, and that link will be my key to success.
- ► 2011 (8)
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