By Kelsey Lineburg, City Year Baton Rouge Alumna and Impact Manager
“Promise yourself, ‘To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.’” A cheerful countenance and a can-do attitude will take you far. Think positively and try not to let your struggles overcome you. This is an awesome opportunity for growth and self-reflection. Don’t let this experience go by without learning something new. If all else fails, fake it until you make it! Meet every task, big or small, with a smile. Even if it’s something you dread doing, attack it head on with enthusiasm; eventually your positivity will sink in and become something real for you and those around you. Last but not least, look up the Optimist Creed. You’ll thank me later :)
Keaira Woodard, Senior AmeriCorps member at Capitol Middle Magnet School
Come into the year with an open mind, ready to learn and grow. It is the only way you will get the most out of your year of service.
Margaret Craig, Second Year AmeriCorps member at Istrouma High School
Analyze, Revise, and Adapt! Every day that you serve will be a completely different experience. No matter how much you prepare, you will never be able to truly anticipate what the next day will hold. Be willing to revise your plans and adapt to what is going on around you. For example: Some days you may put together an elaborate small group activity, however your students may not be interested or focused enough to participate. Be willing to put your plan to the side for a moment to listen to their thoughts. You may end up needing to put your activity to the side, so that you can work on a different task for the day.
Tirane’ Harrington, AmeriCorps member at Kenilworth Science and Technology School
City Year is what you put into it, so put everything you possibly can. Because the pay-off is greater than you can imagine, not only for your student, but for yourself as well.
Susan Nourse, Senior AmeriCorps member at Celerity Lanier and Celerity Crestworth Charter Schools
Be on time.
Steven Probst, Second Year AmeriCorps member at Celerity Lanier Charter School
So, this is a piece of advice that I use with my team. I call it PITW #225: Find a JRA (Joy, Ripple, or Appreciation) in Every Day. Your service year will come with many struggles, difficulties, and trying days. When your mind's clouded with negativity, it may be easy to just pass on sharing a JRA in final circle. But I encourage you not to. There is something to be joyful, hopeful, and appreciative of in every day (even if that appreciation is just making it to the end of the day). Dig deep and find them- it'll make your service year more enjoyable.
Brea Butler-Gilton, Senior AmeriCorps member at Broadmoor High School
Embrace the idea of TEAM.
Shawn Coleman, First Year AmeriCorps member at Kenilworth Science and Technology School
I encourage all new AmeriCorps Members to explore their new city and truly celebrate the culture that it holds. And for those members who are from Baton Rouge: Use your experience to show others around as they adjust! Baton Rouge is FILLED with hidden treasures that you cannot find anywhere else!
Tyler Aitken, Senior AmeriCorps member at Baton Rouge Bridge Academy and College Preparatory School
My advice would be to keep an open mind. Coming in, you don't know where you are serving or what your day will look like. Adaptability is key to making the most of your City Year experience.
Suzie Nahach, First Year AmeriCorps member at Baton Rouge Bridge Academy
1) Be transparent and genuine - Students can sense when your actions aren't genuine.
2) Own your mistakes - This kind of feeds into the transparency suggestion. No one wants to have to deal with an adult who is condescending and claims to never do any wrong. That's a lie. The last thing these students need is another adult who isn't truthful. We're all human, and we all make mistakes. We, instead, need to address those mistakes and use them as teaching moments for our students.
3) Self-care is essential. You may feel like you want to do everything for everyone, but it is ok to say "no" from time to time. After all, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first.
4) Try to keep the attitude with your managers to a minimum when they give you tasks at the last minute. Most of the time, it really isn't their fault. They give you information when they receive it. So, just be willing to work with them to meet the deadlines they were given.
5) Enjoy any moment you get with your students, because time really does fly by!
Laureanna Crump, Second Year AmeriCorps member at Kenilworth Science and TechnologySchool
Kelsey Lineburg proudly served as a Senior AmeriCorps member on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School. After her year of service, Kelsey will be returning as an Impact Manager at City Year Baton Rouge.