Hey Steemers! The piece that follows is my application essay for the Peace Corps, which asked why I wanted to volunteer and how I would cope with the challenges. I'm stoked about the potential and hope you enjoy this piece :) <center>!(https://s13.postimg.org/bq40a7ms7/10440880_10207175161995069_4445396375501392870_n.jpg)</center> My name is Danielle Schmid, and I wish to become part of the human machinery that enables Peace Corps to operate. This entices me because of my passionate craving for meaningful work. I seek out meaningful challenges because they demand full presence of mind and body. For example, I am an avid hiker and outdoors- lady. I love dirt, sore muscles, and the beauty of an expansive mountain top. Manual labor is satisfying because it allows me to viscerally experience progress. I have spent time in South America building bathrooms and schools; each project was an opportunity to participate in creating something from start to finish. Additionally, I have heard Corps volunteers describe themselves as responders to the specific needs of their community; I have acted in this role in the past. My time in South America included volunteering in medical clinics that addressed local health concerns with cultural sensitivity. I have helped patients to address culturally- ingrained lifestyle choices to better their health; I have learned from Peruvian farmers that a life of abundant movement gifts extra years of vitality. It has been a privilege to engage in this reciprocal exchange of knowledge. I have long admired the Corps’ diplomatic work and returning volunteers- it would be an honor to stand for and with these individuals. <center>!(https://s22.postimg.org/v3ptah7pd/11233268_10207137226846714_5160824380091086444_o.jpg)</center> I understand that there are challenges associated with Peace Corps service, many of which I will be unable to predict or prepare for. It is important to discern what is within our realm of control and what falls beyond it; I am at peace with both. We are responsible for our degree of presence with the community and its people. The more we try new things, initiate conversation, ask questions- the deeper relationships we build. Individual connections grow, networks form, and a sense of identity is created. I define this identity as a role recognized by those around you. Relationship, connection, recognition: all of these are things that make us feel welcomed into a place. Remaining present is also important in regards to projects. If we offer ourselves as tools, our days will be full of meaningful work. Being a part of completing this work is rewarding, especially in conjunction with a team. It allows us to build a sense of purpose, ensuring that we feel useful and necessary in our positions. Even in trying to saturate my experience with these qualities, I predict that I will feel homesick and lonely. I will find solace in yoga, journaling, and music. I will engage in mindfulness meditation and go running. I would love to have my partner, Brett Fergusson, with me as an intimate piece of home. I welcome the challenge into my life and look forward to growing through it.