Fighting Poverty with Passion
October marks my third month as a VISTA and I will admit getting adjusted to the job definitely took some time and management skills. I would like to share with y’all some important steps that might help other VISTAs get adjusted to the new lifestyle. Being a VISTA comes with a lot of responsibility. You are thrown into an organization and expected to help them accomplish things you might’ve never worked on before. I luckily was given the task of creating an Internal Operations Manual to help acclimate myself to the office and the work the accomplished by Center for Restorative Approaches. After a month and a half though I was starting to feel uninterested and lacked inspiration to keep working, especially with living on a budget. I felt overwhelmed with emotions regarding not enjoying the position. I approached our leader and we were able to talk to my supervisor and now my duties have increased and my projects have become more creative and geared towards communication and outreach, a field I thoroughly enjoy.
Another challenge I’ve witnessed in the three months of being a VISTA is finding the time to enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Like many others’ I am sure, I am working two jobs. One full time job as an AmeriCorps VISTA with an imaginary pager to which you always need to be ready to work on any given day the organization needs you, and second as a tutor/babysitter. I highly recommend finding a job like such as you can create your own flexible schedule, your own hours, and is also untaxed. However, having to juggle two jobs leaves me with little time to go food shopping, little time to see friends, and little time to exercise. I have come to have three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this week, nonetheless I have finally found a method that works for me and I highly recommend other VISTAs to find one that works for them. I’ve created a daily routine of making my bed every morning, making breakfast to go (allows more time to sleep in), go to work, and workout when I come home. The only way I have time to workout is if I cook all of my lunches and dinners on Sunday or Monday night till at least Wednesday or Thursday. And then repeat for the following three days.
Lastly when on a budget you might think its hard to find things to do at a low cost. If you’re a VISTA in my cohort and affiliated with Tulane University or even near a college campus look into the free speakers and events, they may have. More often than not they are open to the General Public and provide you with awesome speakers like Tig Notaro and Bill Nye the Science Guy, in addition to free movie screenings. Your local library and some yoga studios might also have community classes and conversational language classes for free or at a discount income based rate. Additionally, the city where you live will often hold free festivals with free music and the only money you have to spend is on drinks and food if you desire to purchase but are by no means required to.
In the meantime, starting a new job can be stressful however I have been working on two projects with the CRA and hopefully a month from now they will be ready to be launched!! However, I know you can’t do your best work if you are both unhappy, stressed, and unhealthy!