Ambitions for Peace Corps

During college and my AmeriCorps services, I learned that goal-setting can be really important for holding onto your purpose for doing something. Goals can give you things to look forward to and a gentle reminder for why you decided to do something in the first place.

I knew that if I wanted to be able to survive and thrive in my 27 months abroad, I would have to come up with some goals for my Peace Corps service. Starting wayyy back in June 2018, when I first got to Guyana, I started to think about the things I wanted to achieve and the things I wanted to do. My initial lists have grown since then, but I thought I would share with you all my ambitions I set for my Peace Corps service!

First, I came up with a bucket list of all the things I wanted to see and/or do while in Guyana for 2 years. Then as my Pre-Service Training progressed, I swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteers and spent some time at my new site, I decided to come up with a list of goals for my service. My goals are not necessarily specific to my position in Guyana but rather a general reminder of things I can achieve regardless of my job title.

Guyana Bucket List

  • Visit 8 out of 10 regions.
  • Go to Rodeo in Lethem, Region 9.
  • Fly kites on Easter Monday.
  • Successfully make roti.
  • Color it up at Phagwah (known as Holi in other countries).
  • Participate in the different Mashramani (Republic Day) activities.
  • Visit Kaieteur falls in Region 8.
  • Explore Sloth island in Region 7.
  • Experience the different religions
  • Celebrate Amerindian culture during indigenous heritage month.
  • Go to the Guyana zoo.
  • Feed the manatees at the National Park.
  • Party at Guyana’s Carnival.
  • Spend Christmas with my host family.

Goals for Peace Corps Service

  • Improve my health and achieve a healthy weight.
  • Read more and keep my brain challenged.
  • Focus on myself and personal growth.
  • Have at least one project that I define as successful.
  • Stay open-minded – try new foods, experience new things.
  • Start doing yoga to slow down my mind and actions.
  • Improve on my writing/blogging skills.
  • Be more emotionally open.
  • Make new friends – take my time to create meaningful, productive and lasting relationships.
  • Network more – growth professionally.
  • Take chances but stay safe.
  • Leave a positive legacy both at my site and within PC Guyana.
  • Appreciate and celebrate the little successes.

A poster I created for the Resource Book that was distributed at my Region #2 HFLE Workshop in August 2019.

Throughout my service, goals have been an important part of what I do. Goal setting is one topic that I teach in HFLE and I do so by using the acronym SMART. SMART goals are used to help guide goal setting. Its stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

When you look at my goals I set above, you will see that they don’t follow the SMART acronym entirely, and honestly that is because I didn’t know about SMART goals until I had to teach it in my classes.

When I am teaching my students, I like to provide examples for them, so I often talk about the goals I have set for my service. Since my goals are more broad, I have to develop the goal more to meet the SMART acronym to provide a more accurate example.

After that, I work with the student to develop their own goals by going step by step through the acronym. This allows them to fully understand their goal they want to achieve and to commit to their goal rather than just creating one to get a good grade.

Some students set goals for school, for future careers, for improving relationships with family members, etc. It’s really exciting as a teacher to see my students think past their current situation and aspire for things in the future.

I’ve already been able to check off some items on both lists above, so let’s see how many more I can accomplish with 7 months I have left of service!

Look out for my next post which will be about my new goals I have set for 2020!

xoxo, Mere

The Back Story

Hey there! Welcome to my first post!

For anyone who knows me, you know that I am not an “open book” kind of person, but you also know that after graduation, I will be leaving the States behind to live in South America for 27 months.

Image result for comfort zone gifOver the next three years I will be challenged daily by my Peace Corps service. However, I want to challenge myself outside of my occupation, and that is where this blog, Peace of Guyana, comes in! I have neither considered myself a strong writer, nor have I ever used writing to express myself. But, here I am trying something new and out of my comfort zone. Let’s see how this goes!

First, I thought we could ease into my first blog ever with some “fun” facts about me.

  1. I am a senior at Bradley University, and in May, I will be graduating with a B.S. in Health Science with minors in International Studies and Health.

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    Me and my cute grandma!
  2. My grandma is my favorite person in world and the funniest travel buddy!
  3. I am obsessed with sloths. They are about the only living thing that I get emotional over. 
  4. After the Peace Corps I want to continue school to become a physical therapist.
  5. My favorite movies include Step Brother, Forest Gump, and White Chicks, and I love binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, Parks & Rec, That’s 70’s Show, and Game of Thrones.

Now that I shared the most basic knowledge about myself, I’ll provide some background info. Put simply, I like to say I am from Central Illinois. A broad statement right? Well, I lived Mahomet, IL, until I was 11 years old, and then moved to Danville, IL, where I livedScan 19 until I graduated high school. At seven my grandpa died of cancer, and my parents divorced when I was nine. What a sob story, am I right? Well from then on, it hasn’t been rainbows and butterflies, but since I am still getting used this “sharing your feelings on a blog” thing, I’m not quite ready to share those aspects of my life yet. 

I would like to mention that not every moment in life has been sad and traumatic. In fact, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunities and experiences put before me thus far (a.k.a. the Peace Corps). I honestly have to thank the influential and inspiring teachers I had at Danville High School for impressing upon me the aspirations and goals I have right now. Without them, I would not have been recommended to be in AP classes, attend Bradley University, study Health Science, or pursue the Peace Corps. Although I do not go back to Danville as much as I should, I will always appreciate the people and experiences I’ve had there, and it will always be home to me! Go Vikings! 😁

During my time at Bradley, I have also had just as many influential professors and alumni advisors. I have been fortunate enough that they have now impacted my post-graduation path. They have helped me take my aspirations from high school and shaped and prepared me to obtain these goals after college. I have learned valuable skills, and I am ready to use them during my service. All of which I had to convince the Peace Corps I had. 

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For those of you who do not know what Easter Seals is, it is a national non-profit organization that provides services to children and adults with disabilities.

My last (and most momentous) influence on joining the Peace Corps was serving three terms with AmeriCorps at Easter Seals Wisconsin (ESW) Camps.

During summer 2016 and 2017, I left Central Illinois behind for the woods in Wisconsin Dells, WI, where I fell in love with camp. During the first summer, I served as a Respite Apprentice (i.e. a camp counselor) at Camp Wawbeek. My experience that summer was so life-changing that I re-applied for the next summer as the AmeriCorps Aquatics Specialist! My time with AmeriCorps inspired me to seek out similar opportunities for the future, and that is how I started considering the Peace Corps for my post-graduation plans. Before returning for my second term with AmeriCorps, I spent my junior year researching, pursuing, and preparing the Peace Corps application. I applied so early, that I was fortunate to recieve an interview while at my second summer of camp!

 

Although I am sad I cannot return to camp for a third summer, I know this next path I am pursuing will provide me with lasting memories, new friends, and new experiences! So stay tuned because . . .

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