The Accomplishments, Surprises and Frustrations of Year 2011.
And Yes, Public Allies was the highlight of my year. Enjoy.
JANUARY: “I want to move Oklahoma”
I grew feelings for a guy I went to college with after my move back from Thailand.
The reality: he lived in Oklahoma. I bought a plane ticket to Tulsa to see if it I should move to be with him… Another reality: No job in place, no money in my bank account…minimal family/friend support.
I look back and think, yikes – Erin, wakeee uppp! I mean, he was wonderful. He was smart, always involved… a complete sweetheart. Not to mention, we shared a common passion: Education (He was in Teach For America). What was not wonderful was the risk of moving with only a relationship to arrive to. It just didn’t feel right. Obviously, I stayed in Pittsburgh. Ironically, I applied to Public Allies while waiting in the airport for my flight back to Pittsburgh.
A heavy heart, but no regrets.
A visit to a Tulsa classroom.
FEBRUARY: NYC here I come!
I interviewed with NYC Teaching Fellows. NYC swept me off my feet. The lights, the culture, the people…Well, I ended up being waitlisted for NYC Teaching Fellows, then rejected. Devastated, but things happen for a reason.
At least I got to eat some grade A street cannolis in Little Italy, walk Times Square and visit with some close friends in the best restaurants. I love Pittsburgh, but Public Allies NYC, I am jealous!
Relaxing in Central Park after my interview
MARCH: My first job offer! … Family, I am moving to Jackson, Mississippi . . .
I ended up landing a position to be a community organizer for Planned Parenthood Southwest. Last minute, I did not end up taking the position. I was so torn. My family is my biggest supporter, but not with this decision. I also was not sure if I was ready for a year in a campaign lifestyle. I felt horrible. Last but not least, I feel a big part of the decision was knowing that I would be hearing from Public Allies pretty soon.
Planned Parenthood Campaign prior to Public Allies
APRIL: “And the waitress is practicing politics . . .”
The end of March I decided to coordinate a county Sheriff campaign while bartending on the side. The regulars asked me frequently for any updates:
Erin, where are you moving now? — Not moving.
You want to teach?? – Yes, but none of the four teaching programs accepted me… (eek!)
Politics?! Are you a democrat or republican? – starts to walk away…
You want to be in the nonprofit sector?! — I want to make a difference.
Do you know you will never make good money?! — sighs, some people just don’t get it…
That was the point where I thought I would be serving bar food and alcohol for the rest of my life. Ahh!
MAY: I was invited to Selection/Interview Day!
Finally, something was going in my favor. I was going to Public Allies Selection Day! I knew there was a reason why I was not in Oklahoma, NYC or Mississippi and was still serving ribs at a local grill.
All I can remember from this eight-hour (?) selection day was completely breaking down during my one-on-one interview. The interviewees were asking me questions that required me to reflect on the last year. Thinking of all that happened, I started crying (Campbell, I hope you are reading this). I was so embarrassed.
On Election Day … of all days … I found out I was invited to the second interview process. I remember running out of the campaign headquarters, screaming and jumping up and down. Finally.
JULY-PRESENT: I was placed at The Education Partnership as the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator.
Over 300 volunteers and 2,300 service hours later, supporting students and teachers in our community … I feel that I made the right choice!
Teachers with cars full of free supplies!
Students excited about receiving their "power tools"
2012 … Now what?
It’s sad to know that the program will end in June, and I have to do this application process allll over again: Second year in Public Allies? Try again and apply to other teaching programs? Teach abroad? What about my boyfriend? …uh oh…
I will keep you updated…