Sorry to burst your bubble so early on but this post doesn’t have anything to do with Freak Nasty.
There will be absolutely no discussion of twerking, bouncing, bumping, jigglin’, or getting low on the ground. This post is solely about the emotional
struggles journey of a Peace Corps Volunteer.
That volunteer being me.
This last week our Tico #31 volunteer group completed a much anticipated Mid-Service Training (MST); a Peace Corps milestone that marks the halfway completion of the 2-year service.
Watch us here as we awkwardly, yet so symbolically jump from our first to second year of service.
We spent the week undergoing deep bonding (srsly) and reflection sessions, medical and dentist appointments (cavity free y’alll), and making plans and preparations for our second year of service.
Oh, and we stayed in a shnazzy hotel with super fast wifi, air conditioning, a buffet breakfast, and bug-less clean bedrooms. Every morning, I woke up to the sound of silence and not crowing roosters, screaming children, and dead moths on my bed.
It. was. AMAZING. And oh so needed.
While the completion of MST is a relief and huge accomplishment for all PCVs, it also marks a confusing and emotional time in our service.
I made it a year! Yayyy!
…Wait, I have another year left?
Way back when, when we were still in our pre-service training, we received a document that has creepily and accurately depicted the emotional stages of my Peace Corps service.
So, in the words of Freak Nasty, when I dip you dip we dip, I confidently say that this cycle of vulnerability and adjustment is right on track.
Cause I be dippin’.
There have been times when I am bawling and snotting all over myself and referenced this chart only to affirm that my broken emotional state was right on track.
**crinkles sheet, puts it away and continues crying**
Can I get one of these for life, please?
But in terms of my service, the mid-service crisis is REAL.
Over the past few months, I have been hit with intense ups and downs; huge bouts of inspiration and then streaks of feeling isolated and helpless.
A 16 oz. jar of peanut butter doesn’t just eat itself in less than 10 days.
When I recently reflected upon my one year completion of service, I mentioned that I felt grounded and comfortable where I was. And it’s true that I do, but when it comes to working on projects, I am often on the bus headed straight to Struggle City.
As a PCV, one of the greatest struggles I think that many of us face is trying to motivate our communities and project partners to find motivation and commitment within themselves. And the truth is, it can be difficult…and draining.
There are days and weeks where I feel unappreciated and misunderstood, times when I feel unmotivated and lost in my purpose as a volunteer.
You know when you have gotten so far in your head trying to find the solution to something you no longer know what to think and how to look at it from an outside perspective? Like you’re not a little off path…YA LOST.
That’s sometimes how I feel when working on projects in my community.
So when MST rolled around, I was grateful for the opportunity to re-energize and hit the refresh button.
This past week, being surrounded by my Tico #31 group has lifted my spirits and helped me reestablish my goals and commitment as a volunteer. I was able to reflect on my first year challenges and fill my brain bucket with new ideas and strategies on how to overcome some of the hurdles that I face with projects and day-to-day life in my community.
So today, I feel refreshed and like I am coming up from that MST dip and like I’m ready to give this year my all. Here’s to (hopefully) maintaining that “adjustment” period for the rest of my service!