Being a National Health Corps (NHC) Florida member has been one of the most rewarding challenges I have endured; it has pushed me out of my comfort zone, encouraged exceptional growth and learning in me, and aided me in achieving my career goals.
For the most part, throughout my life, I have been one of those rare people who actually liked school. I was pretty good at it; I worked hard, but most subjects came to me pretty easily. I liked the structure of school. There was almost always a clear objective in school work: turn this in at this time, do this to get a good grade, participate in discussion, etc. Success in school is very tangible. The part time jobs I had were also very structured in a way. While I didn’t always have my supervisor right by my side, my job duties were concrete with certain ways things needed to be done.
When I graduated college and joined NHC FL, that’s when I got my first taste of the real world. As an NHC member, I have learned so much about being an independent adult. The biggest hurdle to overcome has been working in an environment with much less structure than I am used to. For example, one of my duties has been to implement two programs in the community which either have never been done before in Nassau County or have not been done in quite a few years. There was little to no roadmap in place for either of these programs. My previous attempt to start up a grassroots program/club at school had failed, so I knew this would be a struggle. Still, I learned to focus on breaking down my larger, lofty goal of starting these programs into smaller, more manageable, concrete goals; I took steps to reach out to contacts in the community who could help, i.e. school administrators, other nonprofit agencies, and, of course, clients themselves. Despite minor setbacks, I prevailed and I am on track to teach my first “Bootcamp for New Dads” class on June 1st.
I believe it was my NHC experiences like this that made it possible for me to achieve my dream of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, and it has made me more prepared for it psychologically and experientially. Since my role in the Peace Corps will be as a maternal/child health educator, I have no doubt my experience as a care coordinator that works directly with mothers to improve their health and the health of their babies makes me an ideal candidate. I am also more confident in my ability to work and live independently.
Although it has been by no means easy, I do not regret joining NHC. I couldn’t possibly put a price on the value of the growth it has fostered in me, the doors it has opened, nor the friendships I have reaped from it.
This blog post was written by NHC FL AmeriCorps Member, Nathan.
Nathan serves at FDOH Nassau- Healthy Start Program as a Care Coordinator.