Life After Service

Many of us deal with tough decisions everyday on the job and in our own personal lives. One of the biggest decisions we will have to make will be what we want to do with our lives after we have completed our AmeriCorps service term. There are so many questions we can ask ourselves and at times the decision making process can seem overwhelming. As AmeriCorps members, I feel that we are in a particularly vulnerable position because of the uncertainty that our futures hold.

I know that I have struggled with making decisions in the past and one of the only things that I can say for certain is that I will likely struggle again in the future. In looking back on past decisions, it may be helpful to evaluate them in order to determine how a particular situation ended up working out.  I feel that asking yourself questions like these is important:

What could I have done differently?

Do I feel that I could I have done more?

Did I not think about enough options that could have lead me down a different path?

These questions may seem irrelevant after the fact, but it’s so difficult to think of every scenario or think that you haven’t been trying hard enough when you are caught up in the moment. Looking back may offer up a different perspective that you hadn’t thought of before. For my age and experience level, I feel somewhat awkward giving people advice on what to do in the future. However, I’ve been through a lot and I think that a lot of us are dealing with similar issues.

I know that some are impulsive and some make more calculated decisions, but my advice when making a decision as big as your life after service would be to at least take a little time to think things through.

  • Think of your past and how you have made previous decisions. Ask yourself some of the above questions and think about how you might need to learn from that in making the decision on what to do with your life after service.
  • Then, take some time to think about the present. There are so many questions that you could think of but try to hone in on some that will help making your “life after” decision a little easier: What do you wish you were doing more of? Are you happy with the work that you have been doing? Are you happy with the location you live in and with the people that surround you?
  • Finally, think about your future but be realistic. Think of external factors that may or may not make a certain move in the future more doable. Most importantly though, don’t worry about the future too much. I’m guilty of this and I’m sure most of us are- I feel that it’s only natural. However, worrying is probably not going to help in your decision making process.

So in the end, all you can do is make decisions and live your life. If a decision doesn’t work out, then don’t fret: you were just making a decision that felt right at the time and no one should feel guilty about that. In the future, you’ll know better or you’ll try harder and that should only lead to better decisions. Hopefully we will all make great decisions for our lives after service that we can be happy with and our time in service will continue to influence us in our futures.

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This entry was posted in AmeriCorps Week, AS220 VISTA, Life After AmeriCorps. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life After Service

  1. I really appreciate this blog entry. It applies to all career decisions, but especially AmeriCorps service. By the time we start service, it’s already time to think about Life After AmeriCorps, it seems. Definitely useful questions for all AmeriCorps members! Thank you!

    • sbrajer05 says:

      You’re welcome. I feel that in the case of AmeriCorps members, if they are transitioning out of AmeriCorps- the transition period can be particularly difficult to deal with. It might have taken them a year to finally feel really comfortable at their site, with their colleagues, and in a new location if they had relocated. In my mind it’s important to not only think about what we want to do after service but also how we are going to deal with potential challenges that may arise during that transition period.

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