• Monica Jackson

0 to 100...Peace Corps Update

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

I have been a little hush hush on the status of the Peace Corps because it still seems unreal & too good to be true...I GOT IN, i am going to be a English teacher in Indonesia starting in September with training. I have a lot of thoughts to talk through...once I find the ground. For now I will share the essay I applied with back in August.

Prompt: Peace Corps service presents major physical, emotional, and intellectual challenges. Please provide a few paragraphs explaining your reasons for wanting to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer and how you plan to overcome the various challenges associated with Peace Corps service.

We will use this writing sample to assess your professionalism and maturity as a candidate. Please spend time editing your motivation statement. We recommend that you draft it in a separate document and cut and paste it into the box below. (4,000 characters, or approximately 500 words)

I’m applying seeking a journey of prosperity in social change by working alongside community members to help them develop their full potential. The progress, relationships and even struggles in doing this afford me great fulfillment. I want to experience all the challenges that come with a Peace Corps Volunteers. I want to step back from “first-world problems” of American culture to discover my true-self. My future after serving is unknown, but I hope to contribute to a more just world and have enhanced my skill’s to create and defend sustainable change. Change that is not only liberating in the way of social justice but empathetic and attainable.

Studying in Morocco and interning in New York were major steppingstones to civic leadership, cultural humility, and community development. In Morocco I took Islamic Policy and Woman Studies that gave better understanding of the history and social customs. Experiences like a hammam, although culturally awkward, taught me the impact of empowerment in respecting cultural values. Interning in NYC at nonprofit in affordable housing advanced my skills in project management and relationship building alongside a community. I was also in the city on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn, this was an opportunity to support a community I hadn’t connected with; I embraced the opportunity by showing up and listening. These experiences prepared me to be a PCV by finding sustainable solutions in what the community needed and wanted.

I realize serving is more challenging than studying abroad or interning. Though, these experiences have made me more committed to struggles that I’d likely experience. I have found fulfillment in things that lead to building community- going on a walk or talking with neighbors. I understand that progress and success is not always a linear path. As a Peer Career Navigator, I assure fellow students that a dislike of work can be positive because it can contribute to a greater awareness of happiness in a career. I see the process of defining what success looks like to be developmental and ongoing. However, tracking quantitative and qualitative changes would highlight areas of growth and barriers to overcome moving forward.

Some qualities I bring are my demonstrated resilience and ambitious mindset. This year I have challenged myself to run 500 miles (10 miles a week, 50 weeks a year). I have never run as a hobby or competitively, so this is a test of my stamina to purse a long-term challenge with little room for excuses. I’m 350 miles in, with a fair share of trying times, but I made a commitment. I set this goal, wanting it to be easy or always fun would be a waste of my time. Expecting to need grit and a growth mindset is what has propelled me to keep chasing it. Like applying to the Peace Corps, it is something that I consciously chose, understanding that it is an unpredictable yet transformational experience. In both instances I am going to do everything in my power to make happen.

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