Jacob Arlington graduated Beacon College in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology.
Yet, for someone who’d chosen a field famous for getting into people’s heads, he couldn’t diagnose his next steps after graduation.
“After graduating from Beacon, I didn’t really know what I was going to do with my life after college,” the 24-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla. said. “I had a summer job lined up but that was seasonal work, and he had “toyed around with joining the Peace Corps.”
Enter mom and dad.
“They sent me a link talking about AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps,” he said. “I applied, was accepted, and the rest is history.”
An arm of AmeriCorps, the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a fulltime, residential program for young adults ages 18-24 that shores up communities and builds leaders through team-based national and neighbor civic engagement. Some 75,000 Americans annually participate in AmeriCorps mentoring youth, battling poverty, boosting academic achievement, prepping for disasters, and caring for national parks.
Participants in the ANCCC receive a biweekly stipend, room, board, and transportation and receive an education award when their service ends.
Arlington’s team responded to hurricane disaster areas in South Carolina, where Hurricane Florence soaked the state and caused nearly $18 billion in property damage and economic losses in North and South Carolina. The team also did hurricane duty in Albany, Ga. and Naples, Fla. They participated in trail building/maintenance, replaced signs in a national park and called to find people impacted by hurricanes who needed assist, and repaired houses and worked with Habitat for Humanity. Arlington and crew also repaired cabins in a state park in South Carolina.
The mission that gripped him the most, however, involved “working in an active disaster area in Conway, SC. My team and I were canvassing and clearing out flooded houses,” he said.
Although Arlington wasn’t practicing psychology in the confines of an air-conditioned office or teaching Psych 101 in a college classroom, he still leveraged his schooling.
“My Beacon education has helped me in the outside world by teaching me time management skills and how to work with people different from me,” he said.
Arlington’s AmeriCorps gig ended May 2.
Next, he’s lined up a summer job working with the Boy Scouts in Lafayette, Louisiana, and after that, hopes to intern with the U.S. Forestry Service in Utah or serve a second stint as a team leader in AmeriCorps.
“I would highly recommend this program to any Beacon graduate because of the skills that are learned,” Arlington said. “The benefits of the program definitely outweigh the cons.”