written by Tyler Jones
Imagine that you will be moving to a new city, and perhaps a new state, for work. You can do all the typical prerequisite research—check Yelp for the best restaurants, Trip Advisor for various attractions, and so on—but what you won’t find on any review site is the sensation you feel when you leave your home behind to make a fresh start in a new place. There is an eerie, somewhat somber feeling that you get when you have to fit your belongings into a single car (or, if you’re coming from farther away, a suitcase or two.) This feeling, however, is counterbalanced by the excitement of exploration, the thrill of beginning again, the limitless possibilities that exist when you move to a town where nobody knows your name.
The majority of corps members enter City Year as strangers. A few folks may know one another from high school or college, but many newcomers will only have seen each other’s faces on social media, in posts trying to find a roommate or asking questions about what is necessary to bring with them when they move. Yet in the space of a few weeks, even mere days, these strangers will form intense bonds with one another, building up a network of support, care, and friendship. A community of strangers quickly becomes a new home, perhaps even a family.
It’s never easy to try something new; it’s even harder when you’ve got to try it in a new and unfamiliar setting. It does, however, become a little easier if we follow the same advice we give our students: make new friends, try new things, and don’t be afraid of failing something you’ve never done before. We make City Year a safe place for one another, just like we make the classroom a safe space for our students. We encourage each other when we are downtrodden, we shine a light when we are in darkness, and we lend a hand when nobody else does. We are here for our students, yes, but we are also here for each other.
If you have any hesitations about moving to a new city, don’t worry; it’s a perfectly normal feeling. And that joy that you feel in your heart when you meet your teammates and your students for the first time, well, that’s normal too. So embrace them both, and the uncertainty that comes with them. Life begins outside your comfort zone, and so do the Manchester city limits.