Eight months ago, I was just a regular 22-year-old working a decent customer service job and taking it day by day. Life was comfortable. I didn’t hate my job; it paid well enough to cover my expenses and the schedule was a dream.
All that came to an end last August, however, when the company I had been working at for the past three years decided to outsource their customer service department. I was devastated but continued my job search.
Before long, I came across the most peculiar ad for an internship through Public Allies Iowa AmeriCorps. I had no idea what AmeriCorps really was and didn’t think they would consider me. After all, I have no college education and have only ever worked in restaurant, retail and customer service positions. Nonetheless, I thought about it and decided it was worth a try. The worst they could say was no and, considering it’s a big national organization, I probably wouldn’t even hear back from them.
To my surprise, I heard back the next day! They interviewed me, placed me in a position and started the leadership training. It has been an incredible eight months and it’s going to be a bittersweet goodbye come August when my term is over. During the past eight months, I’ve learned about managing a nonprofit, office professionalism, meeting and group facilitation, large-scale event planning, team building and some basics on intercultural competence.
In addition to these skills, I have an improved resume, opportunities to network professionally, and have been able to make time to volunteer for several other nonprofits, which is something I never even thought about doing before. I have gained so much from this incredible experience and cannot imagine what I would be doing if I had not taken the chance to make a change in my life.