Before the Journey Began…

I am a true procrastinator at heart, but the YAGM application opened on December 1, 2018 and I started the application process that evening. I don’t even remember when or where I first heard about YAGM but the idea of applying had been floating around in the back of my mind for a few months. After having talked about the possibility of doing YAGM with my friend Kara, who was also going to apply, I knew I at least had to see if I made it through the interviews.

This is the gif I used in a tweet the day the application opened. It encapsulates how I was feeling about starting the app that had the potential of changing my life.

After starting the application, I talked about YAGM to anyone who would listen (but mostly to Kara because she understood how I was feeling about it). Amazingly, I didn’t wait until the last minute to submit my application. This was actually important enough to me that I spent a lot of time answering all the questions and writing all the essays, but I also wanted to get everything done as early as I could. I was really excited when I got an email saying they wanted to have a couple of phone interviews with me (before the application deadline)! Talking with the YAGM alum and staff member in those interviews really solidified what I already felt deep down: God was calling me to do YAGM. I only hoped that the recruiters heard that call too.

Kara and the other Lute who was applying for YAGM, Jackie, had their interviews the same week I did, and then it was a waiting game. I didn’t know Jackie at the time, so I was messaging Kara every day talking about how agonizing it was waiting for our acceptance or denial letters. For a week or two after the interview, YAGM was all I could think about. I couldn’t focus in class. I didn’t want to apply for internships or jobs–I didn’t want to waste my time in case I received a YAGM acceptance letter a week later, but mostly I didn’t want to acknowledge that not being selected for YAGM was a possibility.

Jackie, Kara, and I started hanging out a lot. It helped to be around people who felt the way I did, who were also checking their emails every 3.5 minutes, who also didn’t want to apply for jobs or internships, and who also couldn’t pay attention in class. The day we heard that we’d all been conditionally accepted, we all (somewhat accidentally) congregated at the PLU Campus Ministry office. There were shrieks, there were tears, there was laughter, and there were hugs.

The next thing all the YAGMs had to do was attend the Discernment, Interview, and Placement (DIP) weekend in April. I might write a post about that weekend, but suffice it to say that it would have been a hard weekend without Kara and Jackie by my side. Those wonderful women were such huge sources of comfort; we helped each other work through emotions and navigate the cafeteria, we vented, we sang camp songs, we prayed, and we encouraged each other to make new friends. When it was unclear whether our flight was going to be delayed due to the weather, I was not too worried because I knew that with these two by my side, we’d get it all figured out.

After we got back from DIP, it was hard to transition back into our old lives, but at least we had each other. And a shared love for baseball. I can’t wait to see all the ways that my life and my whole self are changed through my year of service with YAGM, but I hope I never forget the amazing things that YAGM brought into my life before I even left–it brought me Jackie and Kara.

This game was a treat to ourselves to celebrate our placement in our respective YAGM programs — plus we got free hats!

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