Ever since I was a little girl, I have been told by so many people that they had never seen someone my age be so focused on achieving their goals. In their eyes I was a young idealist who had grand plans for her life figured out by the time she was 13. However, as I’ve gotten older, my focus had broadened and I often find myself overwhelmed by the idea of “growing up”. Recently, it has occurred to me that I suffer from a little bit of Peter Pan Syndrome (maybe I picked it up from working at Disney, who knows?). Peter Pan Syndrome is defined as affecting people who do not want or feel unable to grow up. Here is my question: what does it mean to be a grown up? If being a “grown up” means working 40 hours a week at a job I tolerate, dating guys that I don’t actually have a connection with to keep from being “the perpetually single girl”, and engaging in a social life that is more out of duty than pleasure…then you can just forget it. I would rather live a life that fits my gypsy soul even if it is not one that is, by society’s standards, conventional.
Using the term Millennials to describe my generation has become somewhat of a fad. It’s an easy way to lump all of us together and is usually referred to as a negative thing. Are some characteristics of Millennials annoying and undesirable? I mean, I guess. But there are some that I am absolutely proud to take ownership of. As Millennials, we tend to be detached from corporate America instead preferring to work with non-profit or volunteer agencies. I have been raised with service as a cornerstone of my life. From a young age my parents encouraged me to become involved in myriad volunteer opportunities and this has translated into my adult life in a big way. The amazing sorority that I am a proud alumna of…yeah, one of our four values is…?? You guessed it, SERVICE. There is no greater thing that a person can do than give back to those who are most deserving of it without asking for anything in return. These opportunities teach you more valuable lessons than you could ever hope to learn in a classroom.
Now, Morgan, why are you going on a rant about not wanting to work for corporate America and engaging in service instead? Well, funny you should ask. As I embark upon my second (and final) year of graduate study, it has come time to decide what I am going to do with my life. Am I going to get my Ph.D or am I going to apply for hundreds of jobs and hope that I am somehow qualified for one that pays decent (student loans are no joke)? The answer: neither. Back in June, I made the carefully calculated decision to apply for the Peace Corps. As I jumped through the bureaucratic hoops that are typical with the federal government, I figured that even if I didn’t get in, the experience of the process would be worth it. After interviewing in late July, I waited patiently for word on whether or not I was going to be extended an invitation to serve. As time went on, I began looking up other avenues for my post-grad plans because, in true Morgan fashion, I had to have at least 4 viable plans at all times. However, yesterday, an audible was called. I was sitting on my living room couch, indulging in some delicious sushi (I’m looking at you, Khin’s), when an email that has the potential to change my life lit up my phone screen. Peace Corps–Invitation! Like, what? I actually got in?!? I really couldn’t believe it.
Unlike other volunteers, I did not accept my invitation right away. Not because I didn’t want to be a part of this amazing program, but because I never make decisions without considering all the pros and cons of the situation. After talking through my joys and my worries with my family and some of my closest friends, I officially accepted my invitation to serve (pending legal and medical clearance). The entire idea of packing up the only life I’ve ever known and moving across the globe for 2 years is still pretty scary to think about, but are you really living if you aren’t doing something that pushes you beyond your comfort zone?