My Journey to the Peace Corps

Katie Jones peace corps Ukraine blog

I find a lot of times in my life the story about why I decided to do something sound so cliché in it's retelling. It happened when I decided to go to boarding school, and when I chose which college I would attend, so I don't know why I would expect this to be any different. So without further adieu, here is my peace corp story. (Disclaimer #1 writing was never my strongest subject)(whoops)

Why the Peace Corps?

My father was the first person who suggested the Peace Corps to me. I was right out of college and unsure of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I have always loved volunteering and he thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me.

I looked into the Peace Corps a few times after that and it seemed way too intense for me. I didn't think I could handle living alone in another country without other volunteers at my site. I wanted to go and get a "big girl" job that made "big girl" money. I put the Peace Corps on the back burner.

Fast Forward and I would find myself constantly looking for volunteer opportunities overseas in my free time. I looked at working on cruise liners, or working as an Au pair. But I could never really pull the trigger on any of them. I was still seeking the safe option. The fast track to a white picket fence option. So I settled into Insurance. (Disclaimer #2: The company I worked for was great, the people were great, upper management was great... I just wasn't fulfilled).

I realized through my time there that having a "big girl" paycheck and a 9-5 desk job was not as important to me as being happy and doing something I was passionate about. I started spending a lot of my prayer time asking God for guidance on where to step and what to do. It wasn't always the prettiest of prayers because I was becoming pretty desperate for assistance in finding my purpose and was pretty discouraged in my day to day life at the time.

The Origin of the Urge:

February 2016, I was in Orlando with a few of my good friends from high school visiting Disney World. We were on a rest day from going to the Disney Parks and were just hanging out at their apartment. Over the past few months I had found myself growing more and more despondent.

I had recently started watching superhero shows on Netflix. At present I was fully engrossed in the show " The Flash". (Go watch it, it is amazing). I was struck with a sense of envy for the main character who was doing so much and helping so many people. He was making a tangible impact. He had friends, he was happy, he looked fulfilled, and everything to me seemed perfect.

I have had this thought about the protagonists in a lot of shows for a long time, they had a purpose (because what fun would a show be if they didn't) and I was jealous of that.

However watching the Flash there on the couch with Daniel and Crownover, I realized that the reason Barry Allen (The Flash) was doing great things was because he was working day in and day out to achieve them. He was taking bold steps and was willing to sacrifice his personal comfort to make sure he was the best he could be to serve this world and others. (this is the cliché part). I realized that if I ever wanted to be who younger me thought I should be, I wouldn't get there by taking a safe and certain path. But that if I wanted to make a big impact I would need to take bold steps.

I partially blame the show and I partially blame Daniel and Crownover. Being around people who you have known that long have a way of shaking you out of any kind of funk you might find yourself in. The conversations I had with them during our trip, coupled with my Disney day off Netflix binge gave me a stroke of confident to take my first bold step.

I sat on the couch and applied to the Peace Corps.

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