NHC: 23 Built-In Friends

When it comes to finding career opportunities right out of college, something that can easily get sacrificed is a social life. After all, when there are a million other things to consider (job requirements, pay, location, etc.) it’s easy to leave building friendships and enjoying your spare time at the bottom of the priorities list. In fact, depending on the job or career field, you may be forced to do just that.

The great thing about the National Health Corps (NHC) Florida AmeriCorps program is that, along with the opportunities for professional growth and development, it comes with 20+ built-in friends.

These friends are not just your average, run-of-the-mill, basic companions. These are people that share your interests, your passions, and similar career goals. These are people that are genuinely kind, self-reflective, and understanding, because they, like you, want to be of service to a community and help others in the most effective way they know possible. To top it all off, these are people that have (mostly) moved to a new area, and are equally as excited to discover what the area holds as you are.

That being said, the last eight months of my service term have been full of adventures—more so than I would ever imagine having after college. As a student on the pre-med track in college, I often missed out on a lot of random, fun adventures that should be characteristic of college, or just your young adult years in general. However, being a part of NHC Florida made up for this, and more. From the larger, exciting events—Halloween and Christmas parties, 5-hour road trips to Miami, getting to know St. Augustine (the world’s oldest city, just an hour away!), NFL football games—to the smaller things — movie nights, beach days, birthday celebrations, random dinner dates to explore new places, “girl’s nights” in someone’s apartment. It goes even beyond the “fun” things—service programs can be difficult, and having emotionally supportive people that you can vent to and debrief with were essential in getting me through the year.

As one of the two Corps members living in Nassau County (about 45 minutes away from the majority of the Corps, based in Jacksonville) due to my host site, Barnabas, being located there, I was concerned initially about navigating friendships. I was always afraid of missing out on things, just because of my proximity (and the cost of gas money). Thankfully, though, my Corps made it easy—thanks to group chats, someone’s interest quickly turns into plans accessible to everyone, so I was able to feel included in things (it also helped once I learned that gas is cheaper in Jacksonville).                                                                                                                              

In my first blog, written in October, I wrote about how I knew my fellow Corps members would always be there as a support system, whether it was 50 feet in the air on a ropes course or just on the day-to-day. Now, in May, I can truly say that nothing has changed, and I’m incredibly grateful for my Corps every day.

This blog post was written by NHC FL AmeriCorps member, Milly Brooks

Milly serves at Barnabas as a Care Coordinator.