The Dreaded Mid Service Crisis

It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my frustrations. I appreciate my fellow PCMIs around the world and volunteer friends in Guatemala for chiming in and sharing their own stories and letting me know via this blog and email and phone calls that I’m not crazy and that I’m not the only one dealing with some of these problems.

I was particularly comforted on Wednesday after a presentation by some 3rd year volunteers (so people have so much fun in Peace Corps that they sign up for another year!). They reviewed something we had seen during training… something that, in the frenzy of all day marathon meetings and language issues and culture shock and non stop shots from med staff, I had managed to completely forget about: The Volunteer Life Cycle. (Doesn’t that sound magical? Like we’re all beautiful butterflies emerging from cocoons.)

It talked about all the things you feel during different parts of service – pre departure, training all the way through close of service. And when they got to where I’m at (11-14 months) I was startled to see, right there in bold letters: Mid Service Crisis.

  • Comparing myself to other volunteers and experiencing stress and guilt due to believing I haven’t accomplished enough? Check.
  • Feeling stuck and left behind as friends lives back home continue (marriage, babies, new jobs) and the novelty of being in country wears off? Check.

Sure, it’s unfortunate that we’re all feeling so down in the dumps, but apparently it’s just another one of those Peace Corps badges of honor. Like diarrhea and awkward host family situations. We’ll get through it and soon be on to the next step, that fabled awesomness that is the second year of service.

And I’m more than ready. And while a bulk of things won’t get underway until January when the new Mayor shows up, I’m not going to waste these next few months. So, I’m asking for your help. I’ve been blown away by how some of my friends have stepped up to the plate to help me throughout my service (arts and crafts donations for my youth groups from Linda, Jen, Aimee, Sami, Muriel, Jensel and Pris and then Matt Maggy helping to fund almost my entire world map project when he saw some of my desperate tweets) and I feel like any way I can make this service bigger, have it touch more people here and back home, is important.
So, how? Well, first of all, I’m open to ideas. It’s quite possible you’ve seen opportunities that I haven’t (my Dad is constantly sending me links to projects and ideas that could possibly be implemented here). Or that you know someone or have a connection that could help the people in my town. Or if you teach or have friends that teach I want to do cultural exchanges between your students and my youth groups. Or if you are or know someone involved in music, I want to talk to you about helping out that local marching band aka the only arts program in the entire municipality (it’s run by Mr. Crush and his brother voluntarily and they are in dire need of instruments). It’s time I did a little reaching out and, who knows, one of you might have the key to helping cure my mid-service crisis.
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One Response to The Dreaded Mid Service Crisis

  1. Elizabeth (sobre nombre: Yensul/Yensie says:

    That’s what I like to hear:)

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