Story by Anna Johnson, 2014-15 CivicSpark Alumna, Central Coast Region

In the last few months since finishing up my service year with CivicSpark, I have gone to a climate conference, continued to network, applied to jobs and even had a few very comfortable interviews. Ultimately, though, I have decided to go back to school. I struggled with this decision – alot – because I felt like rejoining the workforce was what I should do. Grad school sounded like nothing but stress and debt to me for a long time, which I guess isn’t strange since student debt is such a serious problem for so many in our generation. But the truth is, I love school and haven’t stopped thinking about it since I graduated almost five years ago. I didn’t really discover what I loved (geography) until my last two semesters, and by that time I was just wanting to graduate and make some money.

Having CivicSpark on my resume has helped me feel more confident in applying for jobs, and I am sure it helped me land those interviews and call backs. The connections I made through the program have also helped me get through the grad school application process, from fellow alumni reading over my statement of purpose to receiving letters of recommendation and just overall support. A fellow CivicSpark member even studied for the GRE with me, (I just took the test earlier this week and it wasn’t THAT bad). Also, the education award has reduced a lot of the stress and fear I was feeling about my future student debt because I know I already have a semester or two taken care of.

Overall, I am very excited for this next step and I am thankful for the experience and confidence I gained through being a part of CivicSpark. If I get accepted to the program I am applying to, I plan to spend my summer doing some traveling, reading, hiking, and basically just enjoying the last bit of free time I’ll have before the craziness that is grad school begins.

About Anna:
Anna Johnson went to Cal State Long Beach and received a degree in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Geography. After graduating she interned for the City of Long Beach Office of Sustainability where she gained some experience working with local government on sustainability issues and projects.