four weeks into my americorps nccc experience, i interviewed myself. approaching the end of my service (16 days!), i thought i'd ask an ameriwhorps the same questions and see how they compare:
q: good talking with you again, ms. sparklepants. it's been...what? about 9 months?
a: 9. almost 10.
q: well, let's start in the same place - what are you most thankful for bringing?
a: my scriptures (bible, book of mormon, doctrine & covenants, pearl of great price).
q: wow. your water-resistant tennies didn't hold up?
a: ha. that or i decided running barefoot is way better.
q: seriously though, why the scriptures?
a: it's been hard to keep my faith calibrated, honestly. with all the moving i felt like i was constantly looking for a new congregation, acclimating, finding transportation...it just became hard to stay focused on why i was going to all the trouble. and reading my scriptures really helped with that.
q: solid. so what item has proven most pointless then?
a: sadly, most of my cold weather gear. i spent so much time in the south that i've hardly used my coat and scarves. i can't wait to go home and sport them through the winter.
q: final packing question. what item do you most regret leaving behind?
a: still my music. i really miss the tunes. BUT my dresses are a close second.
q: dresses? really?
a: i know, right? it's crazy. sometimes i daydream about them...eek. can we take that off the record?
q: sorry sparkle. what's done is done.
q: next question - what surprised you most about your nccc experience?
a: how much vacation time we got. it was great.
q: true enough. and what has surprised you most about yourself as a corps member?
a: i can be a real kill-joy sometimes.
a: yeah. the good thing is i recognize it now and i am working on it - i get that way when i start doubting other people's commitment to a common goal. if i don't keep it in check, i get stressed and put out the vibe that fun is an absolute no-no.
q: what do you do when you catch yourself in no-no mode?
a: take a deep breath. crack a joke. slip off my seriouspants. anything to lighten the mood and acknowledge the need for change.
q: all right. last question. latest thoughts on life after americorps?
a: uhhhh...i'm skeered!
q: the economy keeping you up at night?
a: it definitely is more of a concern to me than 9 months ago. now, i'm nervous about getting a holiday job to tide me over till the new year.
q: then what?
a: you don't let up, do you? ha ha. i am excited about a fresh start - i'm looking at a few arts-based non-profit organizations on the east coast and getting creative about finding work with them. my main priority is to find seasonal work until the new year.
q: that's a far cry from your answer last february. what changed it?
a: life. americorps nccc has been a positive and intense learning experience for me. if i want to be a good team leader i'll need some time and space, you know?
q: makes sense. we're out of time, but i'm going to sneak in one last question. knowing what you know now, would you recommend this program to others?
a: absolutely. it is not for everyone - all the moving, living with 10 people, diving into new tasks and learning as you go...but it has been an incredible experience for me. if you are considering nccc, read everything you can about it on americorps.gov, personal blogs. find family or friends who have done the nccc program specifically and pick their brains about it. but once you've made up your mind, stick with it and you will have the ride of your life.
q: thank you miss sparklepants. it's truly been a pleasure.
a: you bet. thank you.
I Wrote a Column for Outside and They Published It on the Internet! - I'm currently waiting to board a cross-country New York-bound germ tube as I type this, but my latest column ponders the question all thinking cyclists* ha...