Hello! My name is Lauren, and I’m a current AmeriCorps VISTA working with the CLD management team. A little info about me – I grew up in Southport, Connecticut and moved down to Tennessee with my family mid-January 2018. I’m 25 years old and a couple of years ago, I graduated from Temple University with a degree in English, so I hope I don’t make any grammar mistakes in this blog.
Why I chose VISTA
Like many college graduates, I struggled to get a job after graduation. Being a VISTA opens the door to a vast array of experience working on many different tasks. This opportunity would give me the chance to experience real-world issues occurring within my community. I had an interview the day before my VISTA interview, and after the two of them, I thought about which one I wanted more. With VISTA, I would have more opportunities to gain experience. My VISTA position allows me to use my English degree, and I don’t end up feeling like I went into thousands of dollars of debt for nothing.
What I do here
My official title is Opioid Outreach Coordinator, and I am one of the statewide VISTAs for CLD. On a day-to-day basis, I research all things related to the opioid epidemic; I look for articles to schedule on our social media accounts and topics for blog posts. Also, here’s a shameless plug for our Facebook and Twitter. I also write these lovely blog posts, monitor the social media pages, and am currently working on an implementation guide to handout to communities so they can better utilize CLD.
What I like about it
Being a VISTA allows me to learn about community issues and how these issues are being addressed. I have the opportunity to gain a wide array of experience, which I can take with me to future jobs. I also enjoy having a structured schedule; having a set routine makes me feel more productive.
What I don’t like about it
One of the main drawbacks to being a VISTA is the pay. VISTA members get paid a small stipend, or living allowance, and for some people that can be a deal breaker for the position. At five months into my service, I can honestly say that the pay is probably the only thing I don’t really like about serving.
Plans for after service
My service year ends towards the end of January 2020. I currently have aspirations to enroll in graduate school to earn a master’s degree in library science. I’m also considering going for my master’s and, subsequently, my Ph.D. in English and becoming an English professor at a university but I’m an indecisive person and haven’t thought that out yet.