When you’re a young twenty-something, there are few things you have had the choice to commit yourself to outside of school. Formal education was kind of a forced thing, and though you might have loved school, it wasn’t necessarily a decision made entirely on your own.
But, there comes a time when you get to decide things for yourself–how you spend your time and who you decide to spend your time with.
We’re not like our parents’ generation. We move in and out of jobs, switch career paths, decide on a different course. It’s not necessarily negative or positive, in my opinion. And even in my case, I didn’t stick with my first job out of college for too long. Though I interned previously at Tiyya, I just wanted professional work experience in a non-profit organization, working on direct services. And I moved on after my contracted year as I thought I should.
I left that job last October. But, I stayed on as an advisory committee member, then a fundraising committee member, and event planner to help out where & when I can.
For a while, I felt weird about staying–volunteering my time because I thought I should be focusing on getting ready for graduate school or whatever else. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to stay, but my peers were moving a mile a minute, and I felt stuck. The nasty vein of comparison crept in. People were getting degrees, new jobs, new homes, new partners. It just felt like too much.
But, every time I volunteered for a Tiyya event or saw those I worked with previously, it just made me so happy. I forgot that by typical Millenial standards, I wasn’t necessarily supposed to still be there.
The idea that we need to climb invisible ladders and move up and out…it’s complete shit.
Honestly, we should all be so lucky to find an environment that makes us feel happy and needed. Upon reflection, I think I was exceptionally naïve in thinking that I could dig deep into an organization with so much heart and love, and not get attached. It still baffles me how I thought I should just leave.
I’m not saying that every person who works briefly somewhere should remain working for that organization or company for the sake of being committed. But, what I am saying, is that when you do that, it’s not a bad thing. You aren’t being tied down or sucked in. Sometimes maintaining a commitment you enjoy, even when your peers are doing other things, can be rewarding and enriching.
By remaining involved in Tiyya, I think about every volunteer, intern, and staff member I interacted with, and I am just so grateful. And every refugee, immigrant, and asylum seeker who I laughed and cried with taught me so much beyond what a typical year of experiences could give. It is only fair and right that I continue that commitment and embrace the joy it brings me.
If my two years of interning, working, and volunteering at Tiyya has taught me anything, it’s that the best things happen when the people involved truly believe in what they’re doing. And if you believe in what you’re doing, you’ll stay in some way. I’m here to say to anyone who thinks they need to play into the rat race, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with staying. You are not stuck. Because who is to say that we are stuck when we are fulfilled, when we are happy?
With Tiyya, I got “stuck”. And it was the best damn thing that could have ever happened to me.