By Jennifer Cook, FC 19 Syracuse
On my first day at my service site, the Bishop Foery Foundation, (which is an after school program for at-risk youth) my supervisor pointed to a sign that a former FrancisCorps volunteer made. It said “Keep Calm and Roll with the Punches.” He pointed to the sign and said, “Remember that; it is how we run things here.”
At first, I didn’t really understand what he meant. I expected a place like Bishop Foery Foundation to do what they do with “seriousness”, but I began to notice that both my supervisor and my coworkers seemed to joke about nearly EVERYTHING. I was surprised by how little seemed to be taken seriously, but I began to realize that joking didn’t mean things weren’t being taken seriously. As time passed at my worksite, all of the moments when I had wanted to scream “Can you just answer my question and stop fooling around?!?!” started to fade away. I caught myself no longer rolling my eyes at the jokes, but going along with them, even spinning them onto my coworkers or my supervisor, as well. At the same time, there were less and less moments when I questioned how to do my job or felt panicked when a situation was new or went off plan. Instead, in those moments, I found I just rolled with the punches that the day threw my way. Some of those moments have been when kids in program are not listening, or when my work van’s battery died just days after spending five hours trying to get said van out of a snow bank. I noticed myself beginning to learn something: not everything is going to go the way that I want it to. I can either handle these unexpected situations poorly, or I can handle them the way that I try to teach my kids in program to deal with stressful situations every day, with patience, positivity, and kindness; to “keep calm, and roll with the punches.”
Keeping calm and rolling with the punches is becoming a state of mind in my life. Although there are still the occasionally moments of panic and anxiety when I’m not sure what to do, I do my best to have this mindset in my work environment and to carry it with me in all of my relationships, whether they are with my community, those I have outside of my community, and those with my family.
I know I still have so much to learn in the time I have left here, and, while every day is different with different struggles and different successes, I can always count on God, my FrancisCorps community, and the Bishop Foery Foundation for giving me the strength and the courage to just “keep calm and roll with the punches.”