Retracing my Life Map

At a recent Learning and Development day at the Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle, I was pleasantly surprised by the insight I gathered on my own life.

What I’ve recently learned about myself is that I’ve always been the person who never really knew what was next in life for me. In talking about what was next, most times it’s always been: “I’m working on figuring it out.” I’ve never had specific long-term goals. Every thing has sort of fit the expression: we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. In high school, I didn’t have a dream college. I didn’t have a dream career and I still don’t. I went into my Freshman year as “undecided” or as “undeclared” as I preferred to call it.

Retracing my life map, I zoomed in on different pieces of what has made me who I am – who I was as a grade school student, who I was as a college student, who I am because of my family, and who I am right now.

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I used these notes to talk about life story to strangers to professionals at Starbucks and it was nice to be able to write it down, see, and hear how my story is unique and different from others.
  • Grade School Student: I found the theme of knowledge. I was always curious about things that I didn’t know about or had never tried. Joining clubs and sports that challenged my intellect, leadership, and various skills.
  • College Student: I found the theme of service and leadership. I joined communities and took on roles that were focused on empowering others through relationship-building, leadership, and meeting others where they are at.
  • Family: I found the theme of creating a path of my own. As the oldest of seven siblings, a first generation American and college student, and daughter of parents who didn’t complete High School, I internally told myself that I had the power to determine where my path can go.
  • Present: I’ve been focusing on values that I have been letting guide me, professionally and personally: self-awareness, growth, and goal-setting.

So the million dollar question is: what’s next after City Year?”

What I can say is that in thinking about the path that I’ve created and what’s next, I’m finding that I want to take my love and values for these themes in my life to help empower others to be their best selves and to use their path to strengthen their values and lead them to where they feel purpose and joy. I want to use my skills in creative storytelling and communication to share the work and experiences of communities and individuals.

Where this will lead me, I’m not sure, but as usual, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Kids Just Wanna Have Fun

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This morning, Seattle saw a good amount of rain. I was predicting that the rain would cause us to have recess in our classes, but by the time 10:30am rolled around the rain had stopped. With this, the students were scheduled to be outside for recess as usual. Today’s recess was just slightly different than normal in that there was a GIANT puddle of water – “the pool” is what the students called it.

 

Unsurprisingly, the students didn’t hesitate and ran through the pool as fast as they could, as if their lives depended on it. There were about seven students in it at once with the water up to their shins and it took me a good minute to realize that maybe the students shouldn’t be in this pool of water…

 

I was just so entertained by the joy that the students were experiencing with the giant splashes of water going everywhere and the thought of how the students were going to deal with their wet feet, socks, shoes, and pants afterward. I knew I should’ve told the students to stay out of the water right away, but I could just see how much fun they were having and I didn’t want to ruin that!

 

Anyway, a student fell into the water (but safely caught himself!) and that is when I said, “ALRIGHT. TIME TO GET OUT OF THE WATER, KIDDOS!”

 

It’s all fun and games until someone kind of gets hurt?

Better Late Than Never

Around this time last year I posted my last blog post on here. I didn’t know it would be my last, but posting on this blog definitely fell down on my list of priorities. I want to say it’s because the year got really tough around this time last year with work.

BUT this post isn’t about how I’m like any other human and don’t follow through 100% on things.

This post is about how I am determined to begin again and document my experience as a City Year Team Leader in Seattle. My service as a Team Leader began in July of 2016 and will be ending in June of 2017!

Within this blog, I will be posting things from what joys are brought to me by the students I work with, what inspires me and keeps me going in my work,  what values I am focusing on developing throughout the year, to what I’m thinking about doing AFTER City Year!

Stay tuned!

-Nhoell