“Through theological reflection and spiritual practices, YAVs will participate in the process of vocational discernment – unearthing God’s desires for each person’s life and work.”
Participating in a YAV year is a lot like being a senior in college. “What are you doing next year?” “Do you know where you’ll be after this year?” Seem to be two of the only things people can ask me when they hear about my year of service. I usually just laugh and say something along the lines of “oh who knows!” But what I’m really screaming in my head is “I JUST GOT HERE! LEAVE ME ALONE!”
Why is there such an emphasis on what comes next? Why do I have to figure out what I’m doing 9 months from now, right at this moment? Why is everyone always so interested in the after? In an environment that’s always go go go, it’s hard to stay grounded and really figure out what I’m being called to do.
Growing up I was sure I wanted to be a teacher. All through elementary, middle, and most of high school I just knew I wanted to be in a classroom. Then I started assisting in dance classes and I quickly realized that I did not want to be a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED my job at the studio and I credit everyone there as helping me to become the woman I am today.
But I knew I couldn’t be a classroom teacher as my life’s work. *cue existential crisis* Eventually I made my way to social work, but I didn’t find it quickly. All of this to say, why do we force people to figure out the rest of their lives from one experience? Just because I’ve been lucky enough to be able to be here in New Orleans working at a job I love, doesn’t mean I have to know what comes next right now. So far I have three different possible directions I want to go in, all of them are very different. AND I THINK THAT’S FINE! I don’t expect myself to know exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life, because I’m 23 years old.
I want to be able to say that I enjoyed every single bit of this year without the shadow of what comes next hanging over me. I want to experience every day here in New Orleans and learn everything I possibly can about who I am as a person, and who I am in the field of social work before I make a life altering decision.
Maybe I’ll do another YAV year, maybe I’ll go to grad school, maybe I’ll stay in New Orleans forever. Or maybe I’ll do none of those things. Who knows what’s going to happen in the next nine months? Certainly not me. And personally, I am perfectly content with a big old question mark.