Having spent two years in an AmeriCorps program after college, I know firsthand the negative views that are sometimes held about post-graduate service; the low stipend amount being a big one, and questioning the legitimacy of a service experience being another.
I served as a college adviser at Brighton High School through College Advising Corps Boston University (CACBU). In this role, I worked full-time in the guidance department where I advised students on everything from the SAT to college enrollment. However, some people would still casually imply that I did not have a “real job.”
While a year of service often does not translate to the stereotypical notion of a 9-5 office job, this does not invalidate its legitimacy.
I worked full days and then some, as college deadlines, events, and student concerns are not usually confined to traditional working hours. I gave 100% of myself professionally but was also invested emotionally in the work that I was doing.
As for the money, while I needed to stick to a tight budget and could not always afford to join in on activities with my friends, I felt very fulfilled in my role. I am extremely grateful to have made the choice to serve and highlight a few other benefits of post-graduate service below.
4 Key Benefits of Post-Graduate Service
1. Professional Development: Whether it be through workshops, conferences or trainings, most service organizations make an effort to invest in their post-grads and their career development.
2. Transferrable Skills: Even if you are serving in a field completely unrelated to where you see yourself long-term career-wise, the skills you gain from your year of service will translate across industries.
3. Educational Benefits: Many service programs offer an education award that can be used on student loans and future educational expenses. Some organizations also offer tuition remission. Additionally, many universities have scholarships for past service program participants.
4. Community: You will likely be serving in a program with other recent graduates who are passionate about similar issues as you. This community will provide support on your worst days and celebrate your successes on your best.
My years of service were challenging but rewarding. They pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow stronger, smarter and more confident in my ability to succeed professionally.
There are currently many fellowship and post-graduate service opportunities available on Handshake, with more being posted every week, so make sure to check them out!