By Katie Simpson-Johnson
As the beginning of June rolls around, I now have only three months left in my service position as an Energy Corps member. Perhaps it’s the sight of a finish line that appears like a deep drop off into the unknown; maybe it’s the pandemic that has rocked the entire globe to its core; it could be the intense reckoning occurring in our country this week, or even the sobering estimates that we are entering a summer that will see the hottest temperatures and most extreme weather events in recorded history. Whether it be one or all these things, I find myself reflecting on both my service term and my life as an individual, an ally, and a steward to the planet.
For me, my AmeriCorps term has been a turning point. I came into Energy Corps on a lark, lost and just trying to get away from food service industry jobs, and back into the area that I studied in college and have had a lifelong passion. I quickly realized that this experience was going to be much more than that. During my tenure as an Energy Corps member, I have learned a tremendous amount, grown as a human, and even secured the next step in my future by getting into graduate school. I am fortunate enough to say that this external success and growth, has been reflected in internal growth, most of which has taken place in the last two months.
To be thrown into a new field with a steep learning curve is one kind, and no doubt an important kind, of growth. However, the demands on my mental and emotional strength in the past couple months have transcended any form of standard learning curve.
Looking forward into the future for myself, my country, and my planet, I can see only light shining through the present darkness. As an optimist, my default mode is hope; but as a realist, I know it is going to take action to make my hope a reality. I feel more prepared to step off the cliff into the great unknown because of my time as in Energy Corps, and I will encourage young people to consider an AmeriCorps term.