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Peace Corps application close to the finish line!

This summer has not been as interesting as I had hoped, so needless to say I’ve been pretty bored. I’m counting down the days until I move into a huge house with 13 other of my co-workers at City Year next year. It’s going to be so interesting: 14 people living together who have never met before, from all different areas of the country (we’ve got west, southwest, east coast, midwest, etc.) and many who have never even been to Los Angeles before. I think that it’ll be like a Real World-type of show, but I’m hoping that I can learn something new from each of my roommates and make some long-lasting friendships, even if we all go our separate ways in a year. I love having friends all over the country, it makes life more fun because then there’s always a new place to visit! It took me like five months to fill the house/find the roommates, but I FINALLY filled it a couple of weeks ago and everyone living there is in the 20-22-year-old range.

To conquer my boredom, I have pretty much completed my Peace Corps application essays. One asks about how you embody the core expectations of a Peace Corps volunteer and how the Peace Corps relates to your future plans and why you want to serve. I pretty much wrote about the whole “objectivity of journalism has been holding me back from making a difference” deal and basically how it’s been a part of my life plan for a couple of years now, so I will give it my all. Also, hinting on my tattoo I got about a month ago (but not mentioning the tattoo part… we can save that for later), that I will always “hold fast to my dreams” and hold up high expectations for myself. And then, of course, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer would help me contribute to the academic study of public diplomacy, which is what I want to study in graduate school. I’m pleased with it. Honestly, I didn’t really realize it until I started prepping for interviews or completing job applications, but journalism seriously taught me so much about dealing with other people different from myself. The best part about it is that we covered the same stories professional journalists covered – hence, student journalists were kind of competing with professional journalists – so even if I haven’t had that “real” job yet (no, my five months at Disneyland does not count) I still have the professional skills from my three years as a student journalist! Writing these application essays has made me more confident in my decision to major in journalism.

The second essay is about a cross cultural experience I’ve had, how I dealt with the situation and how I gained trust of those I was working with. Hello, I have the perfect story for this! I wrote about my expectations when reporting on a story I wrote about a Senegalese family that lives in Leimert Park and owns a drum shop. I thought the story was going to be about the little 2-year-old drumming prodigy, but the minute I stepped through the doors of the drum shop I knew there was going to be so much more to this story and so much more to learn about this West African culture. Would I have ever learned what a griot was? Or what drumming meant to Senegal? Or what an “arts-collective” was? Not unless I took a class on Africa it seems like! But luckily, I was given this amazing opportunity to hang out with people with an awesome story to tell. A story that got me so excited that I would run up to my professor after class and say, “Oh my god, HOW COOL is this story?” and tell her all about my reporting process. What could be better for this Peace Corps essay? I was going to write about an experience I have when working in my assigned school next year with City Year (we can only imagine that there will be many experiences worthy of such an essay), but this story is unique to my experience and I doubt any other Peace Corp applicant has something similar.

Now it’s onto the boring part of the application – all the nitty-gritty details about student loans, previous employment, college GPA, etc. When I’m done with that I will just have to wait on a recommendation from City Year in Octoberish. Obviously there’s not much to write on this blog right now because I haven’t started City Year yet, but give it a month and I’ll be posting away.

Oh, and we can’t forget my attempt to learn levels 1-5 of Rosetta Stone to be a more competitive applicant. I’m almost done with level one. It’s taking faaaaaaaar longer than expected. Sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t drive you crazy, or anything.

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