Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Skills & Thrills – Alexandra Ehrhardt

On a brisk February day, this VISTA began a new journey in the new year. Already a month into the game, this year has been a fantastic one – no denial of that. So far the list of 2015 is as follows:

  • Project Homecoming gala
  • Rock n’ Roll half marathon
  • New hours at APEX Youth Center
  • Offer to join a fellowship
  • Peace Corps interview
  • Feed the Children + Payton’s Play it Forward Foundation giveaway
  • New interns/service learners

Add a few more things and plus all a bunch of new friends, new experiences, and great times – All of this is wonderful.

This photo was required for my blog post - according to Jack.

This photo was required for my blog post according to Jack. Project Homecoming gala – Jan. 2015

I cannot thank everyone enough for all of the support that I have gathered throughout this entire year.

Throughout these new experiences, I have begun a journey through a new phase of thoughtfulness. The resolution of giving more and feeling more gratitude is still overwhelming. That process is continuing, and this marks the longest resolution I have ever kept. I’m glad that this is the one. However, there is something else that I must have more of a presence in my life.

Interviewers often ask their candidates: “What skills or attributes can you bring to the table? to our organization/our business?”

So, reader, what exactly constitutes as a skill? Or rather, in the words of someone who was looking out for my best interest: beyond “soft” skills, what are “hard” skills that you bring the table?

Beyond the hours of critical thinking, this person made a very good and important point. While I am having thrills, accomplishing things in all that I do, I am often left without time to ponder: what skills am I taking away from this that I can offer into my next step? Is there anything that sets me apart?

AmeriCorps provides many skills that are applicable in many situations. I view myself as a generalist, reader. I am someone interested in many things who is not necessarily trying to aim for expertise in any particular field. While others many find this to be a fault or worrisome, I find it to be liberating and beneficial. I take jack-of-all-trades over expert any time, unless I suppose my life depended on it. In the case of medical conditions – get me the expert. However, to question myself and my work, how applicable are the skills this AmeriCorps position has provided me? What really sets me apart?

I was posed this question just the day before this blog post. I still think about the question today. However, a situation occurred that really negated any bad feelings or concerns I had concerning my skill set.

Today the International Camping Fellowship brought a group through APEX Youth Center. They were a wonderful group of individuals from all over the world – from China to Russia to South Africa. It was a wonderful mix of people, and everyone was excited to visit the center. After I gave them my raison d’être encompassing APEX and my own personal journey, I was met with questions about how I went about my work at the center. One man in particular, Father Mark, asked me about my skills.

Reader, I really struggled. I mentioned some basic things in passing, but most of what I had done for the center came from passion for my work. I credited a lot to my analytically-driven nature, and this was met with some nods and “mhm”‘s. I figured this was enough to answer the questions, but I am left wondering myself: what kind of potential does each person hold and what skills does each person have?

I guess I know what I will be writing for next month. 🙂

A "Thank You!" Gift from the Russian group!

A “Thank You!” Gift from the Russian group!


One comment on “Skills & Thrills – Alexandra Ehrhardt

  1. Jack Styczynski
    February 5, 2015

    Boogie down, my friend!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on February 5, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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