Molly Mackenzie: A Closer Look


Do you want to introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Molly. I’m 23 years old and work at Consumer Credit Counseling of Rochester.

How did you get involved with Rochester Youth Year/AmeriCorps VISTA?

I applied to VISTA the near the end of my senior year. I didn’t really have a plan and it seemed like a good way to get experience for a year – it wasn’t a big commitment – before I decided what came next.

How would you describe yourself to someone whose never met you?

I think I’m a weird combination of really easy to get along with, but I also have really high expectations of people. Not in so they live up to my own expectations, but  that I want people to live up to their expectations. If I see a friend who I know can do better, I want them to do better…. without going against their wishes. I like to help people get to the places that I think they can go. I try to be accessible to people when people need me.

What are you most grateful for?

My mom and my dog. I talk to my mom like every day—she lives in Niagara Falls. I talk to her when I walk Ollie ‘cuz she doesn’t like when I walk Ollie alone. We just talk about our days—I can tell her anything. And Ollie? He’s amazing. He’s like therapy with four legs.

How has your life been different than how you imagined it when you were young?

So when I was growing up, I was dead set on being a brain surgeon. I went to college, I was pre-med, and something just didn’t click. This isn’t what I imagined it to be. I kind of played around for a couple of years. I was international relations for a while. Then I landed on Public Health, and it kind of stuck. I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s very different because I thought that right now I’d be applying to med school.

Does that ever give you cognitive dissonance?

I’m always like should I go back and do science courses and go back to the way I though it was supposed to be? But, No. I think I’m challenging myself to creatively think outside of what I thought was supposed to be. And now I’m seeing the other alternatives, which is cool…. and scary.

What is something I’m passionate about?

This is going to sound really—I don’t know. I think starting Yoga, I am focusing more inward instead of always—how am I going to phrase this—having a better relationship with myself makes me want to help other people have a better relationship with themselves. Coming to accept things like body image has been really important to me. I think helping people to feel the way I feel would be really cool.

I think that’s the essence of self-care. You can’t serve other people, if you don’t know what it’s like to be good. Can you tell me about someone who has a huge influence on your life?

I talked about my mom—she is definitely my number one role model.

What does she do?

She’s a dental hygienist. Well she used to be a dental hygienist. She’s now the office manager of her general hygiene practice. She has carpel tunnel so she can’t do it anymore. That’s like the most recent example of why she’s my role model because she’s so flexible in taking on new roles and responsibilities. She doesn’t know it, but I see it in her, she has this great sense of who she is… and the sacrifices she’s made for me—it’s just so crazy.

Do you feel like being in Rochester Youth Year has made you feel more a part of the Rochester Community?

It’s definitely opened my eyes to what is out there. As a student at U of R, I would go to my coffee shops, and still now, I go to the places that I know…. But getting to know from other people who are in the community… it’s definitely opened my eyes to what’s out there, good and bad.

Thank you Molly!


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