Life Is Not Linear

by Kayla Wagner, Central District Field Crew Member/ AmeriCorps Member

I did not know what to expect out of life after college. When I graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2019, I was 22 years old and had spent the last eighteen years in school immersed in gaining as much knowledge as possible. No amount of education could have prepared me for “the real world.”

For those starting out in the natural resources field, one tends to start out doing a lot of job hopping because of seasonal work. I thought I would do my own hopping for a while and live life as it came. Five days after graduation, I packed up and headed to Michigan to begin my first seasonal job.

Once I left my temporary position in Michigan and moved back home, I found myself floundering – lost without a plan, purpose, or direction. And that is when I joined Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa. I had a friend from college who took a break to pursue a service year with the Youth Corps and she always spoke highly of the Corps. Becoming a Corps member had always been in the back of my mind, so I was excited for the opportunity.

In college, I heard from all sorts of professionals. Each who told their story sounded like a neatly laid out path that equaled success at the end. In reality, it is taking one blind step after another until it all adds up at the end. And to be honest, I do not think we ever stop taking those steps. Right now, the Conversation Corps is one of the many steps in my career journey and so far it has given me clarity towards my future.

And this can serve as a reminder to you, as much as it does for me, to not overthink decisions. One step is all it takes for things to fall into place, whether you envisioned it that way or not.