Life update: Service and Perspective

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

*I started writing this post a couple days ago and needed to stop because I started to feel depressed. I wasn't depressed because of the nature of the topic, but because of my outlook on the topic, which happens to be my job. When I started City Year I was so flippin' excited! I thought City Year was the coolest and I couldn't wait to work with students practically all the time. That spirit lasted a few months, but since January, my enthusiasm and motivation have really dwindled when it comes to working with City Year. Some of the reasons for why I feel burnt out and tired of serving in the school are valid, but a lot of my negative feelings have blossomed from a discontent heart. 
How did I develop my discontentment? Words. Not just my own words, but words exchanged with other people in the form of complaints. COMPLAINING is poison. I know this, and I knew this, but I needed to be reminded of it. I want to nip my negative spirit, because deep down inside I know I'm doing something amazing. I know that I will look back on this year, and say "whoa, you did all that! You put yourself out there in a place hardly anyone would go. You put off your own education and personal development to serve 12 year-olds in the Bronx. How many people can say they did that during their lifetime?" 

Moving forward, I'm going to do my best to look at City Year the way I did when I came into it. There's one guy on my team who never engages in negative talk about the school we serve in, and I'm going to do my best to imitate that. He still shares truth and struggles, but he does it with a growth-mindset and when it's appropriate. He's the happiest at the school, and he's definitely making the most of his work. I know that not complaining is a great start to rekindling my passion and hopefully becoming a better corps member for the remaining months. I so desperately want to enjoy the service I do, and the first step is a positive outlook, especially through all the challenges I'm facing there! God wants me here for a reason. 

This is how I originally started this post:
Work: City Year is kicking my butt. I'm at a point where I'm counting down the days 'til school is over, and I don't like that. I don't know how to make an impact anymore. I don't know how to help these kids. On Thursday we had parent conferences and only 6 parents showed up. These were the parents who really didn't need to show up, because their child is doing "fine." The next day I wasn't in the school, but I texted the teacher I work with to see how the day went, and she said it was the worst day ever. Things seem to only get worse at this middle school. State tests are coming up in April, which are a HUGE deal for the NYC public schools. The staff in the building are stressed, but of course the students could care less.  Our after-school program is so stressful and long. Our team feels disconnected, and the kids go wild. I'm behind when it comes to getting time with students, and I don't see a lot of improvement with grades and overall performance in the students I work with. 
And this is when I needed to stop. Too depressing.  

Aside from this, I still love NYC. Love it. And I'm forming great friendships. I will share a happy post about City Year. I will. Actually, come to think of it, one of the students I work closely with in my class is greatly improving in math, and that really does make me happy.
 Baby steps, Abby, baby steps.

What do you do when you feel stuck or discontent? Do you have verses or quotes to share? 


  1. Romans 8:31-39
    Sometimes, I just need to remember that God loves me, and that's more important than anything else going on in my life. (And the part about being a conqueror is pretty great, too.)

  2. I personally don't think I could handle teaching. The pressures might be too much for me, and to try to teach in an area that people just don't care is hard. I can't imagine what that is like. Keep it up!

  3. When I was 18 I spent a few months in Senegal working with missionaries and while it was one of the best experiences of my life, it was also one of the hardest. I felt the same way at times. :) When I'm feeling that way I make sure that I take time each day to think about what I'm grateful for. I always write them down. I've written them down in journals and I've written them on post-its to put up on my wall. It always helps me to put things in perspective.


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