Confession: I am a dork. Since eighth grade, I have been obsessed with college books. You know, the thousand page long books that describe all the statistics and demographics of each and every college in the United States and parts of Canada. The process of applying and getting into college intrigues me. After applying to ten schools (despite the fact that I knew I wanted to go to the University of Minnesota since freshman year), I probably knew more about the process than my fresh out of college guidance counselor.
It is appropriate, therefore, that this semester I decided to depart from my normal volunteer position of a elementary school tutor and enter the world of career center volunteer.
Last semester I worked at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center. I love tutoring and I love kids, but after five years of pretty solid volunteering in elementary schools, I felt it was time for a change. Achieve! seemed like the perfect organization for me. After applying, I was accepted for my first choice school, South High School.
Earlier today I had my first day their. I set up training with Anne Erickson (coordinator of the Achieve! Career center at South High School) and Alison Criss (volunteer coordinator for the Achieve! program). I left about 40 minutes early to get there because I didn't know exactly how to get there. This actually turned out to be okay because I JUST missed the light rail. I sat around for ten more minutes, listening to Girl Talk. Loudly. And dancing to myself. Embarrassingly. It was great.
I quickly found the school when I got off the light rail and was interested in how different the atmosphere of the school was from my high school. It is a bit smaller than my school, but felt so huge. As I walked up to the career center door, Anne opened the door and greeted my by name. I knew right away that I was really welcome there.
Alison walked me through what the career center is all about, which I am familiar with from my own high school. She explained that I would really just be helping students out with whatever needs they came in with it- be it help writing college essays, figuring out what they want to do with their life, or how to get scholarships.
After going through some paperwork and learning the basics, I explored on the websites available to the kids. They had all of those fun career tests that ask you questions and then tell you what types of professions you should be working in. And guess what? I BELONG TO ARCHITECTURE! It is always great to see some short quiz confirm that what you want to do with your life actually fits your personality.
As I was selfishly sitting on the computer getting excited about my own career, a few kids were coming in and out. Most of them were just working on papers or on the computers. Finally one girl came in I could help. She needed help with a college essay. It was fun for me to sit down and look over what she had. I just kept thinking back to everything my teachers told me about what college admissions officers hate to read and what they are looking for. It was hard for me not to get so excited and try to write it for her. But I think I did pretty well at asking questions to push her own development of ideas rather than giving them to her. I hope I gave her good advice...
I also hope that the time I spend there in the future will be just as useful. I look forward to next week.