Right On by Amelia Huba

August 1, 2023
Amelia is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with the Bozeman School District 7

August, 2023 already! Thinking about this time last year highlights how far I’ve come and just how much this first year has changed me. In August of 2022, I was planning my move across the country to a state I’d never visited to work and live with complete strangers. I was really excited about my position in the Bozeman school district building programming for homeless students – although I’ll admit, I was apprehensive about the co-VISTA who had signed on just weeks before the start date. I didn’t consider myself a good collaborator and it takes me a bit to warm up to people, so driving to Missoula for our Pre-Service Orientation with him the second time we met wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Thank goodness I was quickly proven wrong by the lanky Oregonian with whom I would spend the next year. It’s amazing meeting people and clicking with such immediacy – after just a few days, it was hard to leave him and his lemon of a car while it had to be repaired in Missoula. It has been a joy and a privilege to know Matt and watch him develop a process-oriented mindset, brainstorm great ideas for our projects, and take point on building a resource guide for Spanish-speaking folks in the valley. 

I could keep talking about Matt for a few pages because I’ve been stuck with him for eight hours a day five days a week this past year, but I want to touch on some of the other amazing people who have helped me grow and change in Montana. Katherine, who is smart and personable and absolutely killer at table ping pong. Sommer and Sophia, both creative and caring and hilarious. Robyn, who sees you and encourages you every step of the way with great jokes and dog pics and who has achieved so much while leading our cohort with empathy and open ears through every challenge we have faced. This random jumble of people – who I probably never would have met if not for this experience – have made Montana feel like home and have helped me become more confident in myself and my endeavors. I have become much more comfortable in collaboration and presentations, and I have tried dozens of new things outside of work that I never would have without these friends. Being pushed out of my comfort zone professionally and personally was not something I expected when I undertook this move, but it’s something each of these people has done for me, and I am eternally grateful. 

Beginning something with the understanding that it will end is much different than being at the end and realizing it’s possible I’ll never see some of these folks again. It’s amazing how deeply connected you can be with people you didn’t know existed a year ago. I’m coming to terms with the gift of having known them. I have enjoyed watching my friends and all the AmeriCorps members I’ve met change their communities for the better and I cannot wait to watch everyone go off and succeed in the next part of their lives. I’m so grateful to MTCC for the chance to be here and I eagerly await my next service year – I’m not sure how I’ll do it without Matt making me laugh until I cry while editing grants, but I look forward to the journey and the new batch of people I’ll meet along the way.