Skip to main content

This One Got a Job

I finished college a few couple of months ago, and I'm glad to say that I got a job (sorta)! I formally accepted a year of service (renewable for a second year) with AmeriCorps, a group similar to Peace Corps. I will be living and working in Thomas, West Virginia. It's a small town with about 600 residents, surrounded by national forest.

 If you're curious, I'll answer some questions I've gotten

"So what will you be doing?"

I'll be working with a few different organizations in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, including Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Commission, and New Historic Thomas. These organizations work on sustainable economic and community development throughout the county. New Historic Thomas works specifically in the city of Thomas, doing revitalization and preservation of the community's history, cultural heritage, and resources. I will be helping these organizations, but the specific possibilities for what I will do remain open. I could be helping recruit local artists to do murals, working on the trails, speaking with folks at the legislature, and even keeping a blog.

This video was created by one of the organizations I'll be working with:



"Wait, didn't you get an English degree?"

What most people don't realize is that English majors can do anything and everything! My degree has given me a strong foundation in written communication as well as critical thinking skills. I've also gotten experience teaching, doing presentations at conferences, speaking publicly as a tour guide and in meetings, and recruiting volunteers--not to mention my experience in general badassery. Jokes aside, a B.A. in English can go far. 

"Why don't you want to teach or stay in academia?"

When I started my degree, all I knew was that I loved to read and write. After studying and having an assistantship with the department, I realized that academia was not the place for me. I like being outdoors, for one. However, my main reasons are as follows: I'm not a fan of the structure of academia, which has remained virtually the same since the Middle Ages. This makes it impossible to change, which is astounding considering the amount of self-proclaimed "progressives" in the field. I don't like how separate (ivory tower, even) it is from the broader community. I also realized that it's become highly business-driven, which doesn't seem to fit well with academic work, which takes time and spontaneity. 

I also got experience teaching a variety of age groups, and it's safe to say that it's not the career for me...(although I do enjoy tutoring, which is quite different). 

I know I will continue to write, and I will try to publish. I also know that I have a passion for community work and public speaking. I'm contemplating going into a sustainability-related field in the future, and this position seemed to be a wonderful fit that would give experience and valuable skills. 

"Why would you want to live in West Virginia?"

West Virginia and the Appalachian region in general have been struggling with some significant issues. Mountaintop removal has been cutting the tops off of their beautiful mountains, destroying ecosystems and dumping the debris into streams and rivers, contaminating the water. The region's also seen the clear cutting of trees and strip mining, which obviously harm their natural resources. The mining industries that employed many were not usually Appalachian-owned, so the money didn't stay in the region. Additionally, many of the towns, including Thomas, suffered after the coal mines left. Appalachia has some of the most extreme poverty in the nation. To add insult to injury, there is an unfortunate "ignorant hillbilly" stereotype (think Deliverance) that hovers over the region and denies that any culture or history emerges from the place. I've talked with folks who have actually said that "there's no culture where you are going." 

Actually, though, there's plenty of culture! They have folk art and music, hymns, Bluegrass, storytelling, blood feuds, and a lot of passionate people who love their land and will fight to protect it. There's also a lot of natural beauty here with many different micro-climates, rock formations, and waterfalls, so a lot of people are into hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. I'm really looking forward to living in this place.

A video about Tucker County: 


Feel free to ask any questions! 

Comments

  1. Well, good for you. I know about AmeriCorps because I was part of Job Corps for two years and my entire campus was given an in-depth presentation about it. Definitely was NOT for me, heh. Good luck! And about that stereotype there...I really hate that stereotype, indeed...Shame, really...Such a shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good to hear from you! It's been a long time. I'm not familiar with Job Corps, but I will look it up. I'm excited about the position since it will allow me a lot of freedom to take on different projects. Also, it's a good chance for me to transition into a new field. I'm also looking forward to (possibly) doing open mic night at a local cafe...? It will be a first for me. I'd like to learn the banjo as well for this. My great grandmother played it in a band, so it would be neat to connect with my country roots.

      Delete
  2. It sounds like great experience to have a job that lets you help the environment and do something you are passionate about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a job there that I applied for that had a stronger conservation focus, but they wanted someone with a stronger background in that. The one that I got is great because it focuses on economy, culture, and environment.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

My Mom Wanted me to Update my Blog

Well, I didn't plan to stop blogging. It just happened that I haven't posted in six months. A lot has happened in that time, and I owe it to my biggest fan, my mom, to post an update. Here it is, Mom!
I ended up going to a few more Goth club nights before I left Atlanta. I went with one to my best friend, who is pictured below:
Then I moved to rural Northern West Virginia where I can walk to water falls and hike up mountains. I live only 3 hours from Washington, D.C., so I've been there a few times as well. 

When Halloween came around, Ryan flew up to visit. We dressed as Titania and Bottom from A Midsummer Night's Dream and drove to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum for a Halloween Ball. The old asylum is huge and has beautiful Gothic architecture. We brought our own beer and walked around, ogling at the elaborately dressed costumers.


I even saw Robert Smith! He seemed very pleased that I recognized him.


Then, before we knew it, Christmas arrived. My roommates and I…

DIY Nose Chain

For those of you who've been trying to hunt down a nose chain, you probably know that they're difficult to find. Even online, there isn't a big selection. The ones I've found at a local Indian mall were pretty, but they weren't exactly what I was looking for. I finally decided it would be easier to make my own. 


What you need: Any kind of necklace chain (preferably lightweight)Nose ring (you can also make a lip chain if you have a lip ring.)Earring HookMetal loops (You might be able to find a couple on your necklace)Jewelry pliers (I used regular pliers, but it's a lot more difficult.)How To Make It: Measure out the length you want your nose chain. Using the  pliers, separate the chain to your desired length.Take the piece you need, and attach both ends to  the bigger metal loops.Attach one end to your earring hook and the other end to your nose ring. Make sure the ends are tightened enough where the nose chain won't come apa…

My First Time at a Goth Club

When I walked into the building for Ascension, a Goth/Industrial night, they started playing "This Corrosion." I was introduced to Goth six years ago when I listened to the song, so it was like the night saying "Merry Gothmas, Katie!" I'd been planning on going all week, but when Friday rolled around, I was so exhausted from spending the entire day getting a new car (my last one was totaled) and then visiting family with a long drive back. I came home and wanted to just take a nap, and after taking too long to decide, I got dressed and headed out the door. This past Ascension was the last one held at the Masquerade, a much-loved local venue, and I wanted to experience it before I left for West Virginia.





I'd known about Ascension for a while. One reason why I hadn't gone before this past Friday is because of being a student and having lived an hour away. It's a lame excuse. Aside from that, I told myself for years that I wasn't a cluby-type (alth…