Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Standing up to live

It was a crisp, cold morning. My mother as always, was making something delicious for breakfast and as I arose I saw the fluffy, white snowflakes softly floating to the rough brown branches of the bare oak tree outside my window. It was then that I flung off my bed covers, dashed for my warm clothes, threw on my snowsuit and off to the garage I went. It was 6:30 in the morning and IT WAS SNOWING. I knew I had to be the first to get to the sleds, because I’d be fighting the rest of the day with my brothers over the three new sleds we had received for Christmas. I wanted to be the first. So, I set myself on the shiny red sled, grabbed the "reins" as I called them and WHOOSHED down the driveway and suddenly stopped. What’s this? Black top? Salt? And suddenly, headlights… I’m three years old and in the middle of U.S. Route 4.

Let’s just say adventure has always been a rush for me, and so far I’ve been lucky on the surviving part. I have never been one to follow close behind my friends, family and colleagues. I boldly stride ahead in the direction I finally set my mind and heart upon. Although at times I’ll admit I am a bit lost, I have always found a way to blaze my own trail. So, I am sorry Robert Frost but if I had seen those same “Two roads diverged in a wood” I probably would not have taken either path, but rather just simply made my own. And that is what I am doing now.

After graduating from Cornell University in 2008, I began working for GE Energy (which I have thoroughly enjoyed), but after a few months of work, I began to ask myself the same questions that everyone was asking me:

Emily, what do you want to do? Where do you see yourself in 2 years, 5 years or 10 years? Who do you want to be? How do you want to live? Where do you want to live? Are you planning to settle down soon?

The only questions that I paid attention to were… Am I happy? Am I truly happy? Does my life have purpose? I found more and more that my answers to these questions were not what I had hoped. I needed a new adventure. So, I looked into different government service/volunteer opportunities and I found the perfect fit – the Peace Corps.

So, after a lot of paperwork, I am now embarking upon my new adventure in altruism and academia. This month I will be starting a M.P.S./Peace Corps program in the field of International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University. August 2009 - May 2010 I will spend studying at Cornell. Researching different micro-financial solution models for developing nations and analyzing their effectiveness through both geographic and socioeconomic perspectives. I am also going to look at micro-financial solutions from a communication campaign perspective and how the options available to the population are communicated most effectively and efficiently. June 2010 - August 2012 I will spend serving in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in the Applied Agricultural Science program. Destination not yet known.

As I sit here and write, it brings to mind a quote by Henry David Thoreau “How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.” Well here I am Henry… standing up to live!

For all of you readers out there this blog will be my communication medium to the masses during school and service. Enjoy!