My name is Badria Mryyan, and I am a JSC alum from the 2017-2018 cohort. I found JSC through happenstance– a leap of faith from a random online search before graduation. The thought of having time to think about this big, bold thing that is life and to do so while in community with others was very appealing to me. Early on, a JSC alum spoke to our group and told us we would be “unpacking” our JSC experiences for years to come; I did not understand what that meant until my time with JSC ended.
During my year of service, I lived in Durham with three other corps members. Through both serious and light-hearted (Re: rallies around the TV and beautiful disasters in the kitchen) conversations, laughter, earnest expressions of self, closed and open doors, and occasional tears, each intentional living mate taught me about life. We encouraged growth in one another; we were seedlings peering up from soil. Aside from learning from my intentional community, I was placed with Code the Dream as their Programs Coordinator, where I was able to be in community with Code the Dream’s students. Many of the students were immigrants, coming from all over the globe with specific goals in mind. No day passed without me being moved by their resilience and passion. My time spent with them and the rest of the CTD team confirmed my desire to serve immigrant communities.
While with JSC, I took another leap and applied to law school in hopes of becoming an immigration attorney. Upon being admitted to the University of Arkansas School of Law, I returned to Arkansas to begin my studies. I’m now in my second year, where lessons from JSC permeate everything I do. Last semester, I worked in the immigration clinic on campus and many of our clients came from traumatic backgrounds. In every interaction with them, I practiced compassionate listening; I used the awareness I gained from servant leadership; I chose my words carefully, which I continue to do in my classes (leaving out heated moments in Criminal Procedure and Police Discretion, where I am regularly angered by the 4th Amendment), during pro-bono projects, and in my interactions with others. In my personal life, I regularly remind myself that the scarcity model doesn’t apply to life. I have enough. This thought alone makes hard days easier, as does the friends I’ve gained from JSC. I’m so grateful for the year I was given and know I will keep unpacking lessons for a long time.