Student view:

Maddy Kelly: My path to the Peace Corps

Dec. 16, 2019

Maddy Kelly graduated in May 2019 from MSU with a degree in journalism and minors in public relations and sociology. She began interning for University Communications in May of 2018. 

I have always known that I wanted to leave the world better than I found it.

As a little kid, I remember grinning with joy every time I had the opportunity to help someone. When I am able to bring others happiness it makes my heart so full. 

I had no idea how much I would grow as a person and learn about the world when I first began my journey at MSU. 

Freshman year, I took a required ISS class with professor Fayyaz Hussain and it changed my life. Through the class I was able to participate in Service Learning, an amazing opportunity MSU gives students to do outreach in the community.

Each week, I volunteered at a school in a lower socioeconomic area of Lansing. Service Learning was such a rewarding experience that I chose to do it again the following semester. The second time at an after-school program teaching young students from families below the poverty line about healthy, accessible eating options.

It was after both of these volunteer experiences that I began to see the world around me from a different perspective. I discovered that helping others in this world is where my passion lies and decided to add a minor in sociology.

After a long application and interview process, I am proud to say I have been accepted into the Peace Corps, something that has long been a dream of mine. 

I will be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica this upcoming March.

People are often curious why I would want to join the Peace Corps, and I don’t think one single path led me here, but a lot of little signs pointed me towards this direction. 

The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for people from America to go overseas and work with a community to tackle challenges they are facing.

I will be a primary literacy adviser working with a community, students and their parents to increase literacy rates in a village in Jamaica. 

The Peace Corps also encourages you to work on side projects that are based on one's interests and hobbies. In Jamaica, these projects include women empowerment camps (Camp GLOW) environmental clubs and outreach camps for young men (Camp RESPECT).

Throughout college, I tried to combine various passions of mine with job experiences. This allowed me to work with a variety of non-profit organizations as well as gain different experiences in the media communications field. 

I can’t wait to immerse myself in another culture, speak Jamaican Patois and learn from them as much as they’ll hopefully learn from me. I’m hoping that I am able to make a positive impact in the lives of others and think this will be a good first step to leaving the world better than I found it.

Yes, I am intimidated and nervous. I expect to feel homesick as I think about celebrating my next birthday and next Christmas so far from home; however, I cannot wait to see where this next chapter of life takes me and the personal growth that is about to come. 

Being a journalism major and avid writer, I decided that I wanted to create a blog to tell the stories and share the adventures that I will have when I am there. 

The past four and a half years as a Spartan has dramatically changed who I am as a person. I would not be who I am today if I had not gone to MSU and had the experiences that I have had here. For that, I will be forever grateful. 

I am excited for the next chapter and my next adventure. 

Spartans will make the world better.