Name: Atif Choudhury
Hometown: Irmo, South Carolina
College/High School: Vanderbilt University
Flagship Team: Kelly Miller Middle School
Grade: 6th Grade
What brought you to City Year?
Education played a huge role in my life and I still remember how much I struggled early in my educational career due to the language barrier. Playing a role in the education of the next generation is an amazing responsibility. Finally, I wanted to play an active role in the broader national service movement in order to foster social change through action.
What are two things you have learned in your year of service?
1. I have learned the true value of trying to do everything with an “open heart and an open mind”-I was definitely all the happier and more successful during my year of service for it.
2. I have appreciated the fact that the service we provide in our classrooms is valuable and necessary, but by itself is only a band-aid on a proverbial gunshot wound. In my ten months of service, I have humbly begun to appreciate the full gravity of the Achievement Gap and the various factors responsible for it.
What has been your favorite part of your City Year experience?
Coaching soccer for DC Scores! It truly is wonderful to see how my players have grown into such dedicated student-athletes as well as responsible young men and women.
Meeting Mike McCurry and Secretary Arne Duncan and his family was pretty cool too.
Do you plan to continue volunteering after City Year? In what capacity?
No matter how demanding my professional and personal duties may be, I intend to incorporate service throughout my life . For instance, I plan on providing pro bono legal services to individuals and communities who need it.
What are you doing after service?
Next year I will attend law school (at either William and Mary or Georgetown). I would ultimately like to utilize my legal expertise to pursue a dynamic, inter-disciplinary, and rewarding career within the fields of International Relations, Conflict Studies, National Security, and/or Foreign Policy.
What are some ways that you feel your experience with City Year has set you up for success in the future (professionally or personally)?
I believe City Year helped strengthen the work ethic, leadership skills, and real-world experience I will need to succeed in law school as well as in my professional career. I have learned how to plan and implement multiple projects, negotiate and navigate amongst different sets of expectations, and how to work on a diverse team of dedicated young professionals.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to next year’s corps members?
With patience and compassion comes success. Whatever “maximum level” of patience and compassion you think you possess, you always have room in the tank for more.