I don’t know how it took me six weeks of construction, in addition to the full summer of ASP staff that I already have under my belt, to realize this, but I am never going to have another job like being an Appalachia Service Project summer staffer.
I’ve had weeks that have flown by and weeks that have dragged on forever. I’ve shared a lot of victories with my staff, and with ASP as a whole. We’ve also faced a lot of difficulties — and, recently, a week where a lot of difficulties happened all at once.
I’ve missed home. I’ve missed vacations, birthday parties, graduation parties, my dog and my girlfriend (not necessarily in that order). This summer’s been tough on my anxiety.
But I wouldn’t trade the experience of an ASP summer.
I’ll never have another job where I make 75 new friends each week.
I’ll never have another job where I get to spend my days off exploring the beautiful Appalachian countryside.
I’ll never have another job where I have to sign a contract promising that I’ll shower at least twice a week.
I’ll never have another job that teaches me something new — be it about construction, myself or the world — every single day.
I’ll never have another job where I get paid to hang out with dogs.
I’ll never have another job that I’ll look forward to all year.
I’ll never have another job where my coworkers quickly become a family.
I’ll never have another job where my decisions, literally every single day, make homes warmer, safer and drier for families.
Being a summer staffer for ASP has been difficult. I’ve wanted to go home. I’ve wanted to cry (and, well, okay. Admittedly, have cried). I’ve gone too many days without showering. I’ve driven wayyyyy too much and walked way too little. I’ve probably not eaten as healthy as I should be. And I definitely haven’t gotten as much sleep as I should have.
But I don’t think there’s much of anything that I would trade it for.