While it might seem that August is a long way away and therefore I have plenty of time to think about what I’m going to do once this year is over, in reality, time is not on my side. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, having realized that if I want to go to grad school, I need to start applying, oh, two months ago. Oops. What’s been holding up my applications is that fact that I’m not really sure what type of degree would best suit my interests and ambitions: public policy, nonprofit management, urban planning, cultural sustainability… Time to do some more research…
What I do have on my side is the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. The education award is one of the perks of being an AmeriCorps member and is an added benefit of successfully completing your AmeriCorps year. The amount of the award increased between my first and second years and it will increase after this year too (although I won’t be able to take advantage of that increase as you can only earn two full-time education awards), so I have a pretty nice sum built up that I can use toward paying for grad school. If it turns out that graduate school is not in the cards for me this coming fall, I luckily have seven years to use my education award, or I can use it towards other things. The education award can be used to pay off loans, study abroad, or take enrichment classes at community colleges. If you’re thinking about becoming an AmeriCorps member and want to learn more about the education award, check out this helpful website from the Corporation for National and Community Service: http://edaward.org/.
Of course, graduate school is not my only option, there’s also the option of finding another job, which is a challenge in and of itself. Again, while it may seem early for this, it is never too early to start talking to people and making connections with future employers. Lucky for me, I have the great big VM network to tap into. There are VM alumni at so many different nonprofits across the state who will (hopefully) jump at the chance to hire one of their own. That’s something to consider if you’re a nonprofit thinking of applying for a partnership with us this coming year—we can connect you with different nonprofits across the state who have faced the challenges you are facing at your nonprofit and who can provide you with resources and ideas to make your programs better and help you better serve your clients. If you’re interested in becoming a VM partner or just connecting with other nonprofits, check out our upcoming networking and information sessions!
Wish me luck as I figure out what I’m doing next year and if you have any advice for me or the other AmeriCorps members in our program who will be looking at their options for the coming year as well, please share!