My Peace Corps dream began in a small, second-floor classroom of Model Lab School in Richmond, Kentucky. Old slides of Mrs. Neumann’s Peace Corps time forever sparked my interest and desire to one day serve in the pc too. After high school, I attended Western Kentucky University and got a Bachelor’s of Science in Geography with a minor in Biology. Although I had planned to go straight from undergrad to graduate school to use my extra year of eligibility in soccer, life had other plans and I spent the next year in short-term internships and jobs. During this “gap” year I decided to take my slightly odd (actually really odd) professor’s advice and combine my graduate studies with my pc dream. Living my whole life in the east, the west was calling and after applying and being accepted into the University of Washington’s Masters of Forest Resources Peace Corps Masters International Program (MFR PCMI), I answered it. This past year was spent in Seattle completing my graduate coursework and now here I am, waiting to began the next part of my Masters program and my Peace Corps journey.
When I originally began to think about the pc, the reasons I wanted to go were all the common clichés: I want to help the world be a better place; give my time, blood, sweat, and tears to a good and worthy cause; change lives; learn a new language; grow as person; save the world, one tree at a time. And as crazy as these reasons sounds, part of me still wants all those things. However, now I have slightly more credible goals. I hope to, not only learn a new language, but immerse myself in a different culture, learning and better understanding the people that bring it to life. I hope to live differently and more simply than I do now, taking everything from this lifestyle change that I can. I hope to make new friends, meet people I learn to love, become part of a community, make a far away home. I hope to greatly increase my knowledge of the food, people, religion, politics, health, and, especially the environment of my host country. I think my pc Masters program will enhance my learning and allow my education to go beyond what it might have without the PCMI program. I believe that my environmentally related assignment (hopefully) and research project will let me to gain the in-depth knowledge and involvement that will raise my experience to the next level. Yet, the most exciting thing to me about the pc is not knowing what I can or will accomplish, the potential I will achieve things that have never even crossed my mind.