"I think of my reason for joining the Peace Corps as more of a feeling, a state of being, or a calling that I rationalized with words and that is something you just can't verbalize to someone."
"It's just something I have to do."It seems like PC people are a different breed, and once we realize that, everything becomes simpler. It's a good feeling.
But for those who are still wondering what this might have to offer in the rational or logical sense, my reasons are:
The opportunity to travel. I didn't take advantage of study abroad opportunities in college mostly because I had to work to put myself through school (some scholarship, some trust fund, a lot of paycheck) and I couldn't ever figure out how to finance it all. Ever since I can remember I've fantasized about traveling to new places and filling my passport with stamps. I'm talking, like seven years old, I was spinning a globe in my dad's hallway marveling at the sheer number of countries that I'd never heard of. From the time I started studying french at the age of 13 all I wanted to do was move to Paris. My brother studied in the Netherlands for grad school and visited Paris for a time. He sent me a post card telling me how easily he could picture me there, and it made my heart ache. I still have that post card. I majored in International Relations, hoping to work abroad someday. Doing what? I had no clue. (Obstacle number one, it turns out...) I realize that the Peace Corps isn't about traveling, per se, as you are stationed in one place for the majority of your time. But that one place ISN'T WHERE I GREW UP. That one place is somewhere I've never heard of and it's all the way over THERE. My mom said something to the effect of "You'll come home during those two years, right?" and I think it broke her heart a little when I responded "Well, I wasn't planning on it..." If I'm all the way around the other side of the world, you better believe that I'm going to take my time off to look around and see what else is out there. I have a theory that people who travel are more likely to keep traveling, and those who don't are less likely to all of the sudden start. I want to be the first kind of person.
The opportunity to do something for someone else. I have been raised pretty well off. I'm not rich, but I've been very fortunate in a lot of other areas of my life. I'm pretty liberal when it comes to politics and I subscribe to the idea of "it's my responsibility to give something back." I know not everyone agrees with this, and I'm starting to be ok with that, but I want to "be the change" so to speak, so I'm starting with me. I can't afford to donate money to charities or my alma mater or start a foundation in my name that will buy bikes for all the kids in Harlem, but I can give my time, my ideas, and my knowledge. I want to go to bed at night, every night of my life, knowing that I did something to help another person that day. I never want to work solely for the money or for where it will get me, and I never want my occupation to conflict with my morals. So far in life my role has been as an educator, something that I see as much more than someone who stands at the front of the classroom imparting knowledge. I know that an education is one of the most important things in life, on top of health and security. It gives people opportunities they would never have otherwise, it unlocks and opens doors that weren't just closed before, but were invisible. I love that this is my chosen line of work, and I want to explore an aspect of it that is all at once extraordinary, inspiring, intimidating, formidable, and promising.
The opportunity to meet new people. From what I can tell of other PC blogs, the info sessions I've attended, meeting my recruiter, and reading different materials, everyone involved in this whole organization seems pretty awesome.
To take advantage of an opportunity not everyone has. I look around at the people in my life and I see that most of them are pretty cemented in their lives. With weddings and babies happening every month, I started to panic a little that I was falling behind. I worried what it meant that I'm the most single person I know, I worried about being like this the rest of my life. And then I realized that it. doesn't. matter. I'm happy, and I'd rather be single and happy than in a relationship that I see some of my friends in. I'd rather do something out of the ordinary and embrace the path my life IS on than complain about the path it ISN'T on.
I guess to sum it all up, I can't think of a single reason NOT to do this.