by Shea Lonergan, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps member serving as a Service Leader on the Bakersville Elementary School team
Each day of service, City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps members enter school with the intention of ensuring their students feel as if their dreams for their futures are within reach. When we are not empowering our students to dream big, we have the chance to focus on our own plans for "Leadership After City Year", or as we like to call it, LACY. On Friday, January 19, 2018, City Year New Hampshire had the incredible opportunity to participate in Comcast Career Day, during which AmeriCorps members received professional development from representatives of City Year’s national sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal.
With the theme of "What's Your Story?" in mind, we participated in workshops pertaining to interviewing, personal branding, job searching, networking, and planning for the future. Comcast NBCUniversal representatives emphasized that each and every one of our stories is not just a destination, but a journey. More often than not there will be bumps in the road, and we may end up somewhere completely different than we originally planned. No matter what, your story is still one worth telling.
I particularly loved hearing the story of Kaitlin, a Senior Recruiter at Comcast NBCUniversal. During the event's introduction, she spoke about her relatable journey from college to career. She entered college with one career in mind and left college on a completely different path. Different experiences and opportunities molded her journey to the new and exciting career that she is passionate about today. I also had the pleasure of attending her workshop on personal branding and social media. Her approach to these two areas that are considered daunting by many, including myself, was refreshing. She highlighted that personal branding and social media are ways to tell your story and reach a broader audience. They are not things to stress over; rather they are ways to share your authentic self, your interests and your skills. I left my time with her inspired to tell my own genuine story, both in person and online.
My story thus far has been nowhere near straightforward. I remember starting college without a clue of what I wanted to study; I only knew that my future career could not have me stuck at a desk, and had to involve helping people. This pointed me in the direction of psychology, but it wasn't until my junior year that I discovered my passion for working with children and encouraging them to learn and grow in ways they had never considered themselves capable of before. I finally knew my calling, but as the end of my college years approached, that sinking feeling of "now what?" weighed on me heavily.
This is where City Year comes in. I stumbled across City Year at a graduate school fair, thinking that was the obvious next step. The person I spoke to then was so incredibly enthusiastic about their service that I just knew that this was what was next for me. I ran home that day and immediately started my application. In a little less than a year, I started a chapter of my life that will forever have an impact on me. The people I have met, the countless lessons I have learned while at City Year New Hampshire, and most importantly, my students, are irreplaceable. I am proud to be serving my second year here and I know that I am without a doubt prepared for whatever leadership opportunity comes after City Year in my story.