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Mental HealthAnonymous1-23-07  12:46 am
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A.M.Y. (
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 2:20 pm:   

Hello, I am a 22 year old female, who recently graduated from a State School with a degree in Dance and minors in Public Relations and Professional Writing. I have always wanted to travel to a remote place and make a difference in the lives of others, while also learning more about myself.

Since graduating college, I have accepted the typical 9-5 job, and am very unhappy. I need a change in my life- a drastic change. That is what has drawn me into the Peace Corps. I have recently applied and am awaiting to hear anything.

Here is my dilemna, I am worried about the professional aspect of my life. After leaving the Peace Corps; I want to still be able to find a job within the profession that I choose- dance. The time slot for a dancer ends at 30, because of the strains put on to their body. Is it better to wait to enter the Peace Corps? Or are the things I am going to gain going to overceed any of my worries?

Is this normal to be unsure about making such a huge life altering decision- or if you are destined to be somewhere; to you follow through no matter what and don't look back? Words of wisdom from previous Peace Corps, and current Peace Corps and future Peace Corps individuals would be of much help. Thank-you
RPCV (adsl-65-67-63-216.dsl.austtx.swbell.net -
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   

Dear A.M.Y,

A couple of thoughts:

You can do both. I don't know much about the dance profession, but it seems to me that to make it successfully, one would need to train and work hard and that the "time slot for a dancer" won't vary much by individual.

Peace Corps will still be there when you decide to exit the dance profession, and there ar many volunteers ages 30 - 80 and even older who serve in Peace Corps.

In the meantime, you could always make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children and/or adults in your community through various volunteer activities or in connection with your dance profession (I'll bet their are kids out there who would appreciate a dance program but don't have the access - or existing programs that need volunteer dance instructors, etc..

I could imagine you becoming a PCV in the future and helping communities set up youth life skills programs that include dance while also teaching writing to older students/adults in community programs ...
Jay (adsl-76-214-157-32.dsl.ipltin.sbcglobal.net -
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 10:41 pm:   

The best time to be with The Peace Corps is when your young,finished college,and have no children. I joined The Peace Corps after finishing Indiana State University. It was the best decision I made in my life.

I also have a PC group that you may join.

Cotact me at jaysweep@yahoo.com

RPCV Ecuador 1990-1992
MajorOz (64-91-12-192.dyn.centurytel.net -
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 8:40 pm:   

GO NOW Don't put it off.

From a purely selfish viewpoint, talk to your department back at college about a MA program based on dances you find at your PC assignment. The ones I saw (and participated in) in Micronesia would fill any MA thesis.

Besides, the younger you are, the more enthusiasm (generally) you have toward your mission.

Good Luck

Admin1 (admin)
Username: admin

Post Number: 700
Registered: 7-2008
Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 4:52 pm:   

Sara (neves417) wrote in peacecorpsfolks,
@ 2008-04-29 10:03:00

Current mood: hopeful
hi everyone,

im hoping to get some clarity from past volunteers. were you ever unsure about the 27 month long commitment? how did you know that PC was the right path for you? ive gone back and forth with some times of complete dedication toward doing the PC and feeling it was definitely something i want to do. and other times I'm not as sure. I believe in the organization and think it would be an amazing challenge for myself as well as hopefully do some good for another country. I've been nominated for E. Europe in the fall and sent in my medical package and am just waiting on clearance. my family says they would support me if I were to go but they're not thrilled with the idea...I think that's what making me less enthusiastic about it than I normally am..

i guess I'm just looking to find out if everyone was always sure if there was a bit of hesitancy at some points. I just want to be sure it would the best decision because if I go I'm there for 2 years..there's no way I would drop out during the process.

any input you have would be so helpful!

(Post a new comment)

2008-04-29 03:13 pm UTC (link)
You know, I just wrote that I never had any doubts, and then I had to go back and delete it because I COMPLETELY FORGOT that I actually quit midway through the application process a few years ago. I applied to PC about a year after I had graduated college and was nominated to Sub Saharan Africa. My parents were really freaked out about the safety issue. (I got my nomination a couple weeks before September 11. Also, I did a year of college in Israel and my parents thought I had some kind of death wish.) I was living with my parents at the time and they were clearly upset by my decisions, so I made them happy and dropped my application.

Anyway, fast forward seven years and voila, I have two months left of my service now. Having quit once and then going on to serve, I can only say that I did made the right decision (for me)...eventually. Two years is a long time, but you'll see once you get in country that you NEED two years (minimum) to do everything you'll want to do. It took me a whole year just to get to the point where my Bulgarian was good enough that I had the faintest clue what was going on in my school and my town. I met some volunteers with the EU's volunteer program - they serve for three, six, nine, or twelve months and they were all really unhappy with the program. They couldn't speak the language, they didn't have any work to do, etc. When I told one of them I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, his eyes got real wide and said, "You guys get LANGUAGE TRAINING. You're so lucky!"

All that said, Peace Corps is not for everyone, and no one can tell you whether or not you should do it except yourself. Incidentally, my parents are really proud of me now...although I think that their happiness may have something to do with the fact that this time round Peace Corps sent me to Europe and not Africa.
(Reply to this)

2008-04-29 03:22 pm UTC (link)
nerves are completely normal, as far as i'm concerned. the committment is a big one, and (especially for those of us who are just out of college) two years seems like a damn long time. i'm not an rpcv or current pcv, though (staging in may), so my imput might not be what you're looking for.

but around the time when i was waiting for my medical clearance i had about a week where i freaked out about it being over two years and had practically decided in my mind that i wasn't going to go. i waited it out, and it passed, and i was just as gung-ho as ever afterwards (and even more so since getting clearance and my invite). since then i've definitely had nights where i go to bed being anxious and nervous about the whole thing, but on the whole i'm extremely excited, and i'm sure that the peace corps is right for me.

i've got an extremely supportive family (my father keeps saying, "i wanna go too!"), so i can't speak to specific strategies, but just know that it's your life. if it's right for you, it doesn't matter what their opinions of the pc are. i guess my grandmother was pretty anti-pc ("the world hates americans" "it's not safe for a young woman" etc), and i just exlpained what i'd be able to accomplish and how it fit with my goals and priorities. i also tried to reassure her about safety as much as possible (because that's usually what the underlying problem seems to be).

hope you get back to feeling excited! peace corps is a great thing to do with a couple years of your life, and if you believe in it, trust your decision--anxieties will pass with time.
(Reply to this)(Thread)

2008-04-29 03:33 pm UTC (link)
thank you--very very helpful! and its comforting to know that other people have these feelings too and that they can pass. i have some time so i'll wait it out as well and see where i end up.

congrats on placement and good luck with staging next month! :-)
(Reply to this)(Parent)(Thread)

2008-04-29 03:39 pm UTC (link)
thank you! also, i wouldn't think about it too much right now if i were you. so yeah, just wait it out and let your subconscious mull it over a bit, and see where you end up.

that said, i hope your clearance comes quickly and without problems. be well!
(Reply to this)(Parent)

2008-04-29 03:39 pm UTC (link)
Yes, I believe everyone gets nervous about it. It is often impossible to know what you are getting into before you go, as everyone's experience will be different. Probably the best things you can do are reassure your family (mine just could not figure out that this wasn't the military, that I could quit, and that they weren't going to send me to Iraq) and try to go in with an open mind. When I was in country, one girl kept saying that she had never wanted to go to Africa and how much she hated the area. If you really hate Eastern Europe, it is time to be honest about that. Otherwise, as someone else said, you will probably find that once you are there you need the time to complete your project.
(Reply to this)

2008-04-29 04:25 pm UTC (link)
I was really worried about the 27-month commitment before I applied and all during the process. My family was supportive...I was living at home, but I think even they had doubts. I must admit, I was not thrilled when I got El Salvador. Even in country I had my doubts. But I agree with the earlier comment that you need AT LEAST 2 years to get things done. I'm in El Salvador and had Spanish before I got here, but it took me about a year to get confidence with people, figure out how things worked and just find my niche and figure out my role. I have about 8 months left and don't want to go! Good luck!
(Reply to this)

2008-04-29 04:48 pm UTC (link)
I think everyone has their doubts...not just before service, but during. Beforehand I was pretty gungho about it but I remember being VERY nervous the closer it got. Lots of thoughts like, "can I REALLY do this for two years!?" But, like some other people have said, 27 months seems like forever before you go, but you'll find that it flies by (or at least I did, and most of my friends did, too.)
(Reply to this)

2008-04-29 06:43 pm UTC (link)
I had some doubts before I joined (like the first poster, I also applied and was nominated right out of undergrad; then dropped out of the process, went to graduate school, reapplied, and actually joined), and even now, in my 20th month of service, I still occasionally have doubts!

For me it is a decision I have to reconsider every so often...sometimes things are great, but sometimes shit happens and I have to decide again whether or not it is still worth it. So far, the answer has always been yes. But who knows what will happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month, etc.

Anyway, just saying, doubts are perfectly normal, but it doesn't mean that you can't be a great volunteer. Good luck!
(Reply to this)(Thread)

2008-04-29 09:05 pm UTC (link)
thank you all for your comments! it's very reassuring to hear about your journey towards PC...much appreciated! :-)
(Reply to this)(Parent)

2008-04-30 01:51 am UTC (link)
were you ever unsure about the 27 month long commitment?
hell yeah...27 months is long...until you're in it. i've been here in the philippines for almost a year and it seems like i was just at staging a few months ago

how did you know that PC was the right path for you?
i wanted to do PC since I was young and i've always wanted to see the world and help people. actually being in PC has reinforced that. some days and some weeks are hard as hell. and then the next day or week is so wonderful that it all makes up for it. your emotions are definitely on a rollercoaster but so far its been the ride of my life. i can't imagine doing anything different at this point. the thought of extending has crossed my mind a time or two or the possibility of doing crisis corps after service. but i still have another year and 3 months left. there are a few things i've learned. patience. and throwing out that 5 year plan i had. there is something to be said for living the present.

my parents were supportive from the beginning. my mom was hesitant because of all the possibilities that could happen sickness, terrorism, etc. as were my aunts and grandfather. right before i left for staging Julia Campbell (RIP Julia!) was murdered here in the Philippines and that defintely shook my family up a bit. but then Virginia Tech happened and they realized anything could happen anywhere. and i've had my bouts with illnesses...amoebas, appendicitis...getting your appendix out in a third world country is interesting and now i have a lovely 5 cm scar and a great story to tell. my parents couldnt be more proud of me. they are coming to visit in 4 days and i can't wait to show them around my site. my dad keeps joking that he's going to join the peace corps now.

after much rambling. its hard. its fun. its dirty. i love it. :-)
(Reply to this)

2008-04-30 10:30 pm UTC (link)
Peace Corps isn't for everybody. Most people's answer is to pass. Alot of Americans see it as irresponsible; no money and two years. There is little work when you get back. PC doesn't always hire. You might want to make graduate plans because there is little work. PCVs have lost alot of rights in the last 10 years.

PC has rewards and they are usually strange. I got to meet all kinds of people and have experiences I never would have had, but no one hired. The 'little journey' of the government employee is not necessarily a good thing and most think it's bad. So, if you want to take a risk, it might be a good thing, but it is a risk.

The commitment is not that big a deal. It goes fast. What alot of people do is take the training, do some time in site, like a few months and get a job. If your not sure about the two years, go through the training and leave. The training is what PC sells and, when I was in, it was the best in the world.

Hide some cash and keep it handy. You will need to buy things and take trips. The extra cash, it should be 5000 or more, will make it go by easier and you can take a vacation.

(Reply to this)(Thread)

2008-05-02 03:48 pm UTC (link)
What? $5000?? No way...I had $1000 in my American account when I left and spent a grand total of $100 of it while I was gone AND I went on two big vacations out of the country (I served in Kenya & went whitewater rafting in Uganda and went on a trip through Tanzania down to Zanzibar.) I also had to furnish my entire house when I got to site. You DEFINITELY don't need to take $5000! Or even $500!
(Reply to this)(Parent)(Thread)

2008-05-02 11:47 pm UTC (link)
I guess $100 is enough. I wouldn't like to rely on it.

I'm on vacation for a while.
(Reply to this)(Parent)

2008-05-05 11:21 am UTC (link)
I accepted an invitation two weeks ago and I'm heading out in early July. In April, I met with a bunch of RPCVs and kind of had a mental freak-out. Questioned the PC for all the reasons you mentioned above. And I've been thinking about the PC for years and years - and I'm not just saying that.

It's weird when you get to the point where everything is in and you're just waiting for the invite. Drove me nuts. I questioned every aspect of serving, looked at other options, spend late nights up wondering if I'd feel selfish and materialistic if I stayed in the US for the comforts I'd have to forgo while in the PC. but when I found other programs and reached application pages, I just couldn't fill them out.

I think my heart has been 100% set on this for years. My mind just had to have a huge hissy fit while I waited impatiently for the invite.

What I'm trying to say is, question it now, but don't drop out. Just wait for the invite, and then when you read over the assignment, handbook, welcome book, and all the paperwork, you can then make a final decision. I knew about two weeks before the invite that I was going for sure. It all just kind of comes together if you let it.
(Reply to this)(Thread)

2008-05-05 03:36 pm UTC (link)
thank you so much for your post...i have had moments of freak-out and sure that i will continue to have up until the invitation and even past that, but its really reassuring to know that other people go through this as well. you'd experience and advice has really helped bring me a piece of mind-im very grateful.

congrats on your invitation! and good luck in the future-have fun!
(Reply to this)(Parent)

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