“There are no should’s. You do everything you can.”-Gloria Steinem
In the choices we make in life, we talk a lot about “should’s.” What should I do next? What’s the right choice? What path should I be taking?
In May of this year, I found myself at this point. I had just graduated college and was still trying to discern what post grad life could look like for me. My education and community involvement led me to wanting to pursue a career in social welfare and community health, and I wanted to pursue these interests. I also wanted to bring my previous knowledge and experiences to the table, while also growing personally and professionally.
I had been working with my college’s fellowships advisor, Dr. Robert Schalkoff, who sent me information about Amate House. I ended up on the phone with Unity Ostercamp, the Associate Program Director for Amate and was invited to apply for consideration for the 2023-2024 cohort.
The Amate year began in late July. There would be applications, interviews, and requests for recommendations (thank you again to Dr. Schalkoff, as well as Hannah Kirtland, a peer, ADPi sister, and friend, for writing these recommendations). There would be all the things involved with moving from Kentucky- where I had lived my whole life- to a new place. I thought about what I should do, and what the “right” choice was. Then, I remembered the quote above from Gloria Steinem: “There are no should’s. You do everything you can.” I thought about how what I had already accomplished, and how I could better myself and potentially, the spaces and communities I was a part of, through a year of service. I thought about my goals, and the people who had supported me in pursuing them. I wanted to do everything I could to continue to move those goals forward.
A month and a half later, I found myself in Chicago. I came into community with people I had never met, but with whom I was committed to building community within the months to follow. I committed to solidarity with the poor, using my resources wisely, evaluating my faith and spiritual life, and contributing to a more just and equitable society.
I also began work as a case manager at the Marjorie Kovler Center. The Kovler Center provides comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylee seekers, particularly survivors of torture. I am doing the work I had envisioned for myself -connecting people to healthcare, benefits, and other necessary resources, thus contributing to larger issues of social welfare and healthcare accessibility. Having not previously worked with the populations Kovler serves, I enter this workspace each day with an open mind and heart. Choosing to do as much as we can, over focusing on the “right” decision, can end beautifully. Joining the 2023-2024 Amate family was a decision that I did have much time to make, and the time since has flown by. It was also one of the best decisions I could have made for myself. Through Amate, I plan to become the best version of me for myself and my community and welcome all the things that will transpire.