Within the last two years, I have been fortunate enough to serve in two different AmeriCorps programs: City Year Detroit and AdviseMI. They have been the most impactful two years of my life. During the 2018-19 school year, I served with City Year Detroit and worked with ninth grade students as their academic success coach in math. Before joining the Corps, I struggled with deciding whether I wanted to work in secondary education as a teacher, or in postsecondary education providing academic support for incoming first-year students. During my time with City Year, I decided working at the college level would help me fulfill my goals, while also serving the student population that means so much to me. I was challenged and encouraged by the staff and my team to apply for graduate school. While I didn't get accepted, an AdviseMI adviser who had served with City Year previously (what were the odds?) recommended I apply to serve in the AdviseMI program. Serving as a college adviser was everything I wanted to do, and serving at the high school level prepared me to effectively work with both secondary and postsecondary populations!

My AmeriCorps years have been the most influential years of my life because the opportunities to serve came at a time when I felt lost and confused about the work I had done up until that point. Prior to serving with City Year and AdviseMI, I only had vague ideas of what I wanted to do with my life. My positions as an academic success coach and a college adviser have inspired me to push my limits and pursue my dreams. All of the qualities we were encouraged to instill in our students, I started to practice for myself, and I saw the fruits of my labor.

The biggest transition during my two AmeriCorps years was that I went from working with a group of people every day with City Year, to solely working by myself with AdviseMI. Both experiences allowed me time to evaluate my working habits and really focus on improvements that would make me a better working professional.

I am a first-generation college student and know how difficult the transition to college can be. As I wrap up my year of service with AdviseMI, my desire to continue serving as a resource to college students has only intensified! As I embark on my graduate school journey in a higher education master’s program, I now possess the confidence to better serve the academic support program I will help facilitate in the fall. I attribute 90% of that confidence boost to the support, knowledge, and experiences received throughout my time with City Year Detroit and AdviseMI!