Carving Out My Niche: How AmeriCorps Works for Me

It is hard to believe I am more than half way through my second year of service with Volunteer Maryland.  I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up to be an AmeriCorps member, but without a doubt it has been one of the best decisions I ever made.  While in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Egypt.  That experience planted the “law-as-a-career seed” and AmeriCorps has watered it.  I did not know that serving as a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator at the Banneker-Douglass Museum and now as a Volunteer Maryland (VM) Peer Leader would prepare me for a career in the law field, but I believe that it has.  Since joining the VM family, I have improved and discovered skills that will only help me in the long run as an attorney.  It was difficult, but I narrowed down my list to my top three skills:

1.  Clear and effective communication really is key.  I never had a fear of public speaking, but I was not the most comfortable with it either.  AmeriCorps has allowed me to practice speaking to various groups and learn how I need to readjust how I give out and receive verbal information.  There really is no point in me talking if people are not understanding what I am saying.  That also applies to written communication.  In today’s social media and electronic advancing age, it is easy for emails, messages, documents, etc. to be misinterpreted, so I have learned how to be clear and concise; even in my writing, so that my main points are not lost in translation.  Pretty important for when I’ll be preparing briefs and appearing in court.

2.  Time management is a skill, not a natural talent.  Like communication, managing my time has been another area where I have grown.  Since being a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator,  I have learned more about my work ethic, how to balance short and long term projects, and (most importantly) my limits.  I now have a system on how I prioritize to make sure I follow through with any task I am given.  Being a lawyer will require a lot of juggling, so I am glad I have a time management system in place.

3.  The beauty of relationships may not always be easy, but it is necessary.  Establishing a rapport with the VM Support Team, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators, volunteers, clients, and all persons really, is essential for work to get done.  I have learned to work with a variety of communities ranging in age, race, gender, interests, needs, and professions.  I never understood the importance and value of building relationships in the work place until I joined Volunteer Maryland.

I thought I had AmeriCorps all figured out, but I have gained more than I thought I would!  I have gained so many great experiences, and I am eager to expand upon them in law school this fall.  I do not know many jobs that would have enhanced the skills of their employees in this way, which is why I will be forever grateful for Volunteer Maryland and AmeriCorps!

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4 thoughts on “Carving Out My Niche: How AmeriCorps Works for Me

  1. Pingback: Focus on leave-behinds, not take-aways « Volunteer Maryland

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  3. Pingback: “When the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” « Volunteer Maryland

  4. Pingback: Was Your Destination AmeriCorps? – Volunteer Maryland

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