“Faced with apathy, I will take action.”
This is a line from the AmeriCorps Pledge, a pledge I have to repeat frequently to reaffirm my commitment to the core values and mission of this program.
Apathy has played an interesting role in my life these past few weeks. I would never describe myself as an apathetic person. I bring passion to a lot of areas of my life and am hard-pressed not to wear my emotions on my sleeve.
This whole transfer process however has left me fairly apathetic.
I find myself feeling emotionless about a lot of things. I’m almost incapable of carrying any level of emotion into my work, and I can tell I’m not putting in the effort my new team deserves. That being said, it pains me to try to be as energetic and excited as they are.
Six weeks of training was a difficult experience, and I made it through because of the close connections I made in Vinton. Coming here and experiencing this all over again makes me feel stuck. We were all so excited to start our round one projects, to put our training to use and travel. Instead, we were ripped from our families and placed back at square one with four more weeks of training. It’s hard to stay motivated when I feel like we just did this and were so close to beginning the exciting part of this journey.
A part of me also feels incapable of making connections again. The people here are wonderfully nice, a rare thing to find consistently in any large group of people. However, I can’t help but put everything in comparison to Vinton. Everything about this campus, including the people, is incredibly different from my previous home. Everything has to live up to the high standards Vinton set for me, and I’m finding myself unconsciously agreeing that I will live this year without emotion towards my surroundings just trying to get through ten more months.
It upsets me knowing that I’m not giving my full effort to my team and this program right now. I can be a good worker, but I want to be a good teammate too. However, trying to bond with eleven people all over again is just too painful a reminder of my last team and the class that became my AmeriFamily.
I’ve come to realize that this experience puts myself and the rest of Bamboo Two, the other eighteen individuals who were transferred, at a rare disadvantage. While everyone else is starting with this excitement and motivation, we can’t help but feel apathetic towards the program. This can be a normal feeling throughout CTI, but at the beginning of CTI it’s not a common thing to feel while everyone is so excited to meet each other and make new friends. I feel like I have to try harder to reaffirm my goals and aspirations for this year, of which I had many, but sometimes it’s just easier to slip into a more numb state and work mindlessly like the employees FEMA attempted to create out of us.
That being said, I do think it’s possible to get more out of this year then just an educational award. I have a lot of faith in this program even if it has let me down so far. I want to be a good worker, I want to connect with my team and expand my relationships, and I want to uphold all the values that not only AmeriCorps holds but also that I hold dearly. Personal growth was the biggest thing I wanted out of this program, and I need to refocus on the positives to get myself to a point where that growth is attainable.
I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in San Francisco with Bamboo Two and a few people from a nearby-deployed FEMA Corps team. It was great to see everyone together and to feel some sense of familiarity since having left Vinton. However, I think it was a painful reminder to all of us the experience we just went through. I’ve heard often from people still in the FEMA Corps program and from those dismissed that they don’t think they can do ten more months anymore. It’s hard to hear this and to stay motivated myself. Although I understand and can empathize with that feeling, I’m doing my best to not let those thoughts affect my own. I want to be here and I want to complete this program. I know I can, but I don’t want to do so apathetically. It’s just a matter of adjusting and embracing the suck so that we can move forward to a point where my new Sacramento corps class can become an extension of what Vinton was to me.
I’m fortunate enough to have been placed on a team that I know I will eventually grow close to. It may take me longer then usual, but they are very patient and accepting. These two qualities are things I really appreciate in them. With a strong team leader to guide us also, I do believe that my new team will become the best that we can be. In that sense, I’m very fortunate to have had two fantastic teams. That’s another rare find in this program, and I see it as a twist of fate that will help me get through more difficult times to come.