AmeriCorps Student Resource Center Member Snapshot: Amber Smreck, Marietta College
I thought I had life figured out. In 2015, I graduated from Marietta College with a BFA in Theatre. Acting was my life, my passion, my everything. I was going to move to Hollywood. I was going to make it. I moved to Columbus, Ohio and started my path to Hollywood. I auditioned for everything in the area. I was told no every time. I felt like I failed. I had hit rock bottom hard, and didn’t know where to go from there. I took a hard look at my life. Theatre was important to me, acting would always be in my life, but I had lost my drive and fire for it. I needed a fresh start.
When I started rethinking about life, I realized the last time I felt stable was when I was at Marietta College. So my plan was to go back to school there. But, honestly, I couldn’t afford college again. Everyone I talked to recommended I look into AmeriCorps. At that point, I had never heard of AmeriCorps. I kicked it around, but wasn’t really sure I wanted to do the program. To dedicate an entire year of my life to serving? It sounded crazy, even with the incentive of being rewarded with funds for college if I could complete my hours. But, I noticed that there happened to be an AmeriCorps position at Marietta College. I could give back to the college where I wanted to attend and have my fresh start!
As a Student Resource Center AmeriCorps member I would help Marietta College start a Student Resource Center, a “one-stop-shop” where students can get help connecting to the resources on campus and in the community. Having grown up in the area and attending college there, Ohio Campus Compact and Marietta College accepted me as their AmeriCorps member.
I’ll be honest with you, I have terribly low self-esteem. So I figured that I wasn’t impacting Marietta College at all. I’m just one person, and there are hundreds of people on this campus. It seemed impossible. Students began to talk to their professors, advisors, and peers about the service I was doing. I was sure that I was just doing little things: connecting students to funds to obtain textbooks, helping students remember to double check that they are registered for classes, taking students to the Health and Wellness Center, helping connect students to tutors, helping find health insurance for students.
Like I said, I was so hesitant to start this journey. But this has been a wonderful experience. My self-esteem has slowly started to rise. It feels so humbling to have students thank me. It feels crazy. I feel like I’m not doing anything. I just pulled a few strings. But I’m helping the students learn that it is okay to seek help. And in a world where we seem so divided anymore, I love that I get to help them know that there are still people out there who care and want to see them thrive.
To you reading this, thank you for reading my story. It’s been an amazing year of service. If you are thinking about joining AmeriCorps, let me share a few thoughts with you. This service program will have its challenges. I’ve wanted to pull my hair out and cry quite often. But stick with it. In the end, you will have done more than just giving back to your community, to a college/university, to a group of students who needed you. You’ll have grown into a stronger version of you.
To you reading this that have served before, thank you! Your hard work has been more than appreciated!
Interested in bringing the AmeriCorps Student Resource Center to your campus? Please consider serving as a host site for the 2020-21 program year. Ohio Campus Compact is accepting host site inquiries through March 13, 2020.
Questions about the SRC program? Contact Stephanie Dodd, Program Director for the AmeriCorps SRC program.
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