Above: Charlie Rose, Dean of City Year, shares, "It's okay to count the days as long as you make the days count."

Written by Colleen Morgan, Senior AmeriCorps Member serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation Team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School

January 2017 came quick this year. Between all the hustle and bustle of the most irregular school year in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina, time flew by and students flowed in and out classroom after classroom. City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps members got some well-deserved rest for the holiday break. On January 3, the whole corps came together at Midyear Summit to begin 2017 and our second semester of service. The theme for the event was Ubuntu, reminding all of us that without one another this year of service would only prove more difficult.

True to the holiday spirit, the Summit greeted us with a wonderful City Year gift: Charlie Rose. Charlie was the keynote speaker and his words were sure to bring everyone back to their service mindset. As I sat and listened with my CYBR team, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I hadn’t thought much about it, but this Midyear Summit was not only marking my second semester of this year, but my final semester with City Year as an AmeriCorps member. This could perhaps be my final semester in Baton Rouge and my final semester where khaki pants are the must and most frequently used in my closet. Some of these things are more heartbreaking than others.

Charlie told us we had less than ninety days left with our students. I have less than ninety days left with my team. Ninety seemed like a pretty large number until he said it. He followed his numbers explaining that, “It’s okay to count the days if you make the days count.” That’s when my heart dropped. He’s right. These last few months, just like this time last year, are when you start to see all of the results come out. Students gear up for testing, the cumulative unit assessments starts to get more challenging, and the class sets for books look a little more run down than they did in August. All of this time has passed. I can’t help but wonder about how, up until now, I had been making my days count.

At the beginning of the year, ten months seemed endless. Time was infinite, my sleep schedule was routine, and mingling was sometimes difficult. Now, here I am surrounded by some of my best friends and role models wondering how all of us are going to make these days count, and how we are going to do it together. As the day came to a close, I had given myself some goals for the final semester of service. I know to make my days count; I need to be more mindful of my everyday work. Stop letting the routine take over and remember that this service is unique, and it proves so every day. I challenged myself to be a great teammate and leader and to do all of these things necessary to make my team successful. As I exited the gym, I sent a message to my team at Kenilworth, my driving force this year. I told them that I loved them all, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of such a great team.

So here’s to less than ninety days and to making them count and trying my hardest not to count them down. 

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