Mile Markers

Today is a huge mile marker for me. Today is the fourth month I have been in the program. It’s also the official last week of my round one project.

It still amazes me to look back at the past four months and reflect on everything I have experienced. I think those that know me well prior to this experience still can’t fully understand the growth I’ve undergone. It’s too exhaustive trying to explain this program and all of its intricacies to someone who hasn’t experienced it for themselves. I often find myself barely glazing over the opportunity in front of me out of a lack of words that can accurately describe my experience.

To catch everyone up, a lot has been happening over the past few weeks since I last updated my blog.

Last week, my team and I experienced the effects weather can have on your project. After a long night of rain and a day of high tides, the levee we work on was breached, causing our work area to flood. When we work in water, which isn’t often, the level is usually up to my shin. While we were on the work site, the water level began to rise up to my chest. My team and I didn’t grasp the severity of the situation in the moment but the stress from our project sponsor and team leader was enough to show us that this was a rare circumstance and a potentially dangerous situation. We ended up leaving the work site as quickly as we could and spent the rest of the day and the next day at our housing doing team position work.

Due to the weather delays our project is now slightly behind. However, this has given my project sponsor and team leader the opportunity to work around uncontrollable factors to provide the team more comfortable work situations. We worked through the weekend to make up for the lost days, had yesterday and today off, and will be working through the weekend again to avoid the extreme storms that have rolled through Petaluma. By the end of next week, Thursday, we should have approximately 94% of the project complete and will depart back for Sacramento to end our round one.

In other news, we also found out our round two project! For round two, my team and I will be living in Seattle, Washington helping low income families through tax season. After finding out, there was an immediate drop in energy from some of my teammates due to the prospect of working an administrative round for thirteen weeks. I can understand their feelings towards the project, but I honestly couldn’t be more excited. After six weeks of constantly being dirty and smelling of wetlands, it will be a nice change of pace to be working in an office with clients that really need our help. There are a lot of skills my team and I can take away from this new experience, and living in the city will be an incredible opportunity. The project is part of a split round, so my team will be working in Seattle for all of round two, and then we will come back in April to finish up the project for the beginning of round three before departing to a new project toward the end of April.

Often what worries me about projects is the monotony of the work. Due to the nature of the work, my team and I will be split up into smaller groups and will work shifts during the day. Each day we will likely start work at a different time and we will only work five hours a day, Saturday through Thursday. I think the diversity of the schedule, and the fact that we will be working with different clients each day, will help make this project interesting and refreshing.

I’m also in the process of finishing up my application for the Fire Management Team, which I talked a little bit about before. The Fire Management Team is a composite team that will start during round three. If I’m selected, I would be taken off of my team at the end of round two and placed on a new team of twenty people total (two team leaders and 18 corps members), and we will perform fire prevention work, trail building, etc. in the Eldorado National Forest. There are a lot of reasons why I want to be on the team and I’m really looking forward to the potential challenge of working in such a physically demanding field.

Mud fights

Despite all of the excitement, I really am looking forward to break and transition. It’s been four months of being around a minimum of nine other people at all times, and although I’ve appreciated every challenge and experience this program has thrown at me, I can feel the wear and tear its had on me. There are often times where I feel really off balance and not myself, and I believe the environment this program provides is likely to have that affect. I’m hoping that break will be a good reset for me to refocus and find that center balance I need to tackle round two with whole hearted and positive energy.

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