Today’s guest blogger is Jesse Carmen. Jesse is an alumna of City Year Boston and City Year Tulsa and is member of the City Year New York Staff, working as the Learning and Development Coordinator.

Hello City Year New York 2016 Corps,

As I write this message to you I can’t help but be beyond excited for the experience that you are all about to begin!

Just two years ago I was in your shoes – getting ready for my corps year at City Year Boston. I was excited and nervous and intrigued, but in hindsight I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t realize or know that the valuable lessons that I would learn at City Year that would last well beyong my corps year. I anticipated that I would help students with their school work, wear khakis and a red jacket, and work long hours, but I didn’t know that my students would teach me more than I could ever teach them. I didn’t know that I would walk away with a whole new definition of teamwork – one that you don’t just read in a dictionary, but one that you feel with your heart. I didn’t know that throughout my Corps year I would learn more about the world around me than I did during four years of college. I also didn’t know that after my corps year I would move to Tulsa, OK and serve as a Team Leader for City Year Tulsa. And, last but definitely not least – I certainly didn’t know that I would be writing this letter to all of you.

Today is your first day of Basic Training Academy (BTA), and I can assume that many of you are feeling all types of emotions. Maybe some of you are nervous. Maybe some of you are excited. Maybe some of you are overwhelmed or also don’t know what to expect. And, maybe some of you don’t know how or what to feel quite yet and that is okay too. Over the next three weeks you will be embarking on a learning journey. You will learn about City Year culture and what a PITW is. You will learn what the ten City Year Values are and what it means to embody these throughout your Corps year. You will learn what it means to do a math intervention or an ELA intervention with students in a classroom. You will learn about best practices in relationship building with students and teachers. You will learn that City Year has a special place in its’ heart for acronyms. You will learn more about your teammates and your fellow Corps Members – people who will soon become your friends.  You will learn all this and more and then once the three weeks are over, you will go into your schools, meet your students and put all of this into practice.

But, the learning experience doesn’t stop there! Something I learned during my Corps year and then during my Senior Corps year and even today is that like most things in life, City Year is all that you make of it. So, I challenge you to embrace it all. Dive head first into your City Year experience and you will get so much more out of it than you ever expected. I feel that we can be the best tutors and mentors for our students if we also view ourselves as year-long students, constantly learning more about our students and ourselves. So, ask questions. Learn something new every day. Lean into the discomfort. Go outside your comfort zone. And, meet a new friend today.

Enjoy your first day of BTA – as it starts off this one-of-a kind year that we like to call City Year.

I look forward to meeting you all,

Jesse Carmen

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