By Michael Zhang, UW Dream Project AmeriCorps Member
As I completed my first week of a real, 40-hour workweek, I couldn’t help but pause to reflect on all the things that had happened in the past month. It had been stressful, sleep depriving, and scary. My summer was filled with moving to a new place, working a difficult job, and studying for the MCAT. But now that it’s all said and done, the excitement is starting to build inside of me and I couldn’t be happier.
The beginning of my summer was disappointing. After hearing about the AmeriCorps position being cancelled due to the lack of funding, I was crushed. This meant I had to continue drudging on through a near full time job at a doctor’s office, which included Saturdays, through the next school year! You can guess that I was more than ecstatic when Nicole and Jenee contacted me after Labor Day Weekend, asking me to come be the second AmeriCorps member for Dream Project. After co-leading Spring BBQ in May, I was excited to continue helping the Dream Project and coming back to my Dream Project family. But as I started training with Jeremy, a small part of me was intimidated and worried for my first official day, October 1st.
After the first week, I began to figure out what my duties as an AmeriCorps member truly entailed. I’ve recruited students, signed them up for visits, answered emails, ordered supplies, printed documents, and sold DP Swag, which are just a few items among a longer list of more miscellaneous things. This is just the beginning of the whirlwind of other things that I will have to take on in the near future (mental preparation for AWW is already starting now) and I’m excited to be there to support everyone.
But anyways, the response on my first day was overwhelmingly positive. I have shaken so many hands, chatted with so many student leaders, and added so many people on Facebook that I can’t believe it’s only been a few days. Last year, I wrote my personal statement about how I found my niche at the UW in my role as a mentor for Foster High School (shoutout, love you guys). As I’m settling into this new role as an AmeriCorps member for Dream Project, I can affirm this statement even more, but on a larger level. The people involved in the Dream Project have become more than my friends: they’ve become my family.
So thank you, Dream leaders, for welcoming me into this position. I can’t wait to figure out more ways to support you and help you get through the next school year. It’s going to be a year filled with more stress, sleep deprivation, and scariness, but I know that it’s going to be worth it.