Reflecting on the New Year by Farid Ghamsari

With the turn of the New Year, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the experiences I have gathered over the past several months. I began looking at AmeriCorps programs this summer, looking for a unique experience as well as an opportunity to serve and develop myself in the process. National Health Corps seemed to fit the bill and gave an extra dimension of being clinically based. Beyond that however, I was unsure of what to expect. I knew I was going to be an insurance specialist, uncertain of what that would actually entail, and I hoped it would be useful in my future as a doctor one day.

Two weeks before moving to Philly, I still had no place to live. I was frantically searching Facebook pages and Craigslist, freaking out that I may land on the opposite side of the country knowing no one and with no place to stay. Finally, just four days before my flight, with a stroke of extraordinary luck, I found a Facebook  post on the “Philadelphia Affordable Housing” page which was three minutes old for a room for rent immediately, in my price range, and in my desired location. I connected with the other tenants and within hours had confirmed that I would move in with two absolute strangers on the following Monday.

As I got on my flight to Philadelphia, I began to realize how little was certain about my situation; my position, my cohort, my roommates, my home, there were a ton of possibilities for things to go wrong. What if I didn’t like my roommates? What if I didn’t like my service? 

Now, with that said, I cannot express how grateful I am and how perfectly everything worked itself out piece by piece. My roommates have become some of my best friends, and my cohort is full of some of the most caring and inspiring people I’ve ever met. My placement as an insurance specialist has provided me with invaluable perspective on the barriers to healthcare that many in the US face while allowing me the opportunity to help people overcome these barriers and access the coverage they deserve.

Since beginning with the National Health Corps, I have learned so much and experienced more than I ever would have imagined this year could provide. I feel so fortunate to have landed in this program, and as I think back to what I was looking for out of this year, I can easily say that it has already exceeded all of my expectations. I am eagerly looking forward to the next several months to see what other new experiences this year has in store.

Happy New Year!