If you had asked me to list out a few adjectives concerning my traits before I embarked on my journey of service, the word “creative” would not have been on the list. Almost three years later and I feel that this characteristic is not only my most marketable skill but also the one that I am most proud of.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been drawn towards creative things. In school I thrived in subjects such as writing and theater while shying away from curriculum that required me to work closely with the left side of my brain. However, when it came time to develop a pathway to my collegiate future, I went for a more rigid business based path because I wasn’t sure how to take the subjects I loved such as music, acting, writing, video, and communication and turn them into a job. Afterall I was no artist – I loved music but had never committed to learning how to play an instrument. While I found acting and writing to bring a lot of joy into my life, I couldn’t see myself moving to New York City to make a lifestyle out of a meager hobby.
The things I truly enjoyed seemed out of place in the future I was carving out for myself.
This is where service comes in. While the left side of my brain remembers that the service opportunities I have taken have allowed me to develop my resume and work towards some concrete life goals, the more playful hemisphere remembers that in the last three years I have composed music about Iditarod mushers, produced rap battles about benthic macroinvertebrates, directed educational pieces on topics such as recycling, worked as a dinosaur to promote environmental education, spent countless hours acting as a superstar DJ for Western Alaska, acted as my own paparazzi here on the KNOM blog, and so, so much more.
When it comes to developing my talents, each year of service has worked as matryoshka stacking doll. My first year taught me the importance of finding play amongst hard physical labor. My second year allowed me to spread my wings with my interest in writing, music, and content production. And my time at KNOM? I’d like to think that I’m leaving the cocoon as a butterfly or at least a compelling-looking moth. Everyday I get to write spots and shows for air. Everyday I get to analyze and select music for our listeners. Everyday I get to spend time with Western Alaska and use my voice to help inspire. Everyday is a welcome challenge to use my creative abilities.
Not that long ago I would have been an unbeliever that I could do a job like this. I simply did not feel confident in my abilities. Still to this day I find myself asking if the content I’ve produced is up to par, or if my time on air is interesting and worth attention. Luckily I’ve had wonderful people backing me up and helping me find my way when I don’t know where to go next. If this text happens to reach the eyes of someone who is interested in pursuing a service opportunity, specifically that which is available at KNOM, don’t let the responsibility scare you. Maybe you don’t consider yourself creative at all. Perhaps the word outgoing is last on your list of adjectives used to label yourself. Whatever your hesitation might be, I believe that a journey in service can teach you as much about yourself and the adaptability inside of you, as it can about the communities you serve. Take a risk.
Another note about this particular service experience – it is a great way to develop your interests in your freetime as well and integrate them into your work. Western Alaska is a vast and open place which allows your heart and mind to mirror those free and unbound characteristics. Perhaps you’ll use your free time to meditate on a mountaintop overlooking the frozen ocean? Maybe you’ll finally get around to writing that novel you told your friends about. Whatever it is, I know that all of us current KNOM volunteers have found the time to dive into our hobbies and passions while serving here. Speaking for myself, my free time meant finally developing my dabbling in music production to solidifying myself as an amateur musician. I’m not the next David Guetta or Calvin Harris, but I have enjoyed my many weekends spent composing and producing music. The challenge and the time was ever present and I will leave here knowing that I made something of it.
What will service bring out in you?