Life After VISTA?

The topic for this blog post is something I’ve been thinking about since my first few weeks at Biz Kid$, what am I going to do after Biz Kid$?  However, whenever I get on the subject of my life starting after August 2012, I like to quickly change the subject. I feel as if I am just getting comfortable and confident in my relatively new job and I just haven’t been able to really get in that state of mind. However, now that you’re forcing me to think about it…

In my short amount of time being a VISTA, I’ve learned more than I could have imagined.  There are too many things to discuss here, but I’ll talk about the two big points. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life, but none where “long term projects” were a pivotal part of the description.  It’s been a new experience for me to look at all the elements of a task, form a game plan, and then execute it over an extended period of time. The only thing I can really compare that to is writing a term paper, and even then, I was the only one responsible for my work and who depended on its execution. I’m learning to appreciate the value of a well-laid out plan and all of the elements (people, resources, partnerships, money, time, etc.) necessary to achieve the desired results.  Budgeting my time between tasks that need to be completed now and those that need to be systematically tackled has been a challenging, yet rewarding, undertaking for me.  I’m becoming a much stronger person, confident in my abilities to do what it takes to succeed in these various tasks, big and small.

So far, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I can get along with kids! This might sound crazy, coming from someone in a program built upon alleviating the effects of poverty on youth, but I entered this position unsure of my ability to connect with kids. I’m becoming more in tune with the needs, interests, and personalities of the kids in my program from building relationships with them. I learn something new from them every time we are together and in turn discover a little bit more about myself, too.  I’m realizing the momentous value in learning from youth as a means to better the community and finding that we have a tremendous responsibility to listen to their oftentimes insightful inputs.

As for what this means for my future, I’m still not sure.  I will take this confidence and drive to succeed anywhere I go. My perspectives on working with youth are completely revolutionized. I once believed I “could never be a teacher,” but now I’m not so sure.  I still don’t think I could do traditional teaching in a school district setting, but teaching English abroad (likely Latin America or Southeast Asia) is becoming more appealing.  I could also see myself entering the youth services field as a career path. Since my freshman year of college, I’ve also aspired to work in the microfinance industry, especially in Latin America. This is a fairly lofty goal, requiring a lot more schooling more than likely but one I am passionate about.  Working with young entrepreneurs in Rochester has really brought this desire to the forefront, as their missions are truly reflected in one another.   

I will continue to research potential avenues for me to travel when I will (sadly) have to leave Biz Kid$. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to contributing to this program as much as I can and applying all I learn to figure out my future…eek!

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