While I love being out here in the Navajo Nation and I love my students and what I do, I am also realistic to the limitations I am faced with as a volunteer. I don't make a lot of money...and it's hard sometimes. I realize that it is a commitment that I signed up for, and I am not complaining about that, but it is something that I have to sit back and think about sometimes.
I am 22 years old. I graduated from college a year ago. I want to build a career, one that is strong and that I am proud of. Which leads me to thinking about what the next step will be for me. While I have enjoyed my time with MVC, reality tells me that I cannot re-commit with them. It's too much of a financial strain with student loans knocking on my door. I am in an industry that is not highly valued right now. Yes, I am a history teacher. A pretty good history teacher. But, there are thousands of good history teachers out there. What makes me stand apart from them?
I realized that I didn't join volunteer organization because I was desperate to do something. I joined because I felt like I could make a difference. And I know that where ever I go next, I will continue to try and make a difference. When it comes down to it, I don't want to be famous. I don't want to be hailed as a hero, fawned over, or glorified. But what I do want is to know that I have made a difference somewhere. My students will leave my classroom knowing more than when they went in, and that is awesome. Some of my students have already been accepted into college, and my heart feels like it is going to burst with pride every time another acceptance letter is received.
So, I've decided that my volunteer service will never end, regardless of how soon I find a "real" job with a legitimate paycheck. I have been thinking and praying about what to do after this year, and I have discovered a number of graduate programs that would allow me to get a tuition-free Master's degree with a commitment of service to underprivileged schools. It's something that I have to look into deeper, and think about, and talk to my family about.
If I have learned anything this year, it is that I love my job. I picked the right profession, and although I will never get rich or famous, the sense of satisfaction I have is enough to sustain.