I Know I Picked the Right Career and Grad Program

As I sit in a coffee shop (how cliche) working on a lit review, I realized how I picked the right grad program. I was incredibly hesitant to pursue literacy education. With a degree in history education along with social studies teaching certification, I wasn’t all that sure about how literacy fits. Yes, I know it fits. With the implementation of common core and such, I know there is a place for both degrees in a classroom.

However, today as I am reading articles trying to make sure they all fit for the lit review (due Thursday) I got incredibly excited. All of my major themes started to fall into place and I have begun already making connections in my mind about how the paper will turn out. While research has never bored me, I’ve always been more interested in pulling it all together while writing. To take all of these different ideas and make turn it into something is just so very cool to me. I know the nerd in me is showing hardcore, but haven’t you ever done something that you are so passionate about that you can’t help but be pleased knowing you’ve made the right decision?

Ironically, I am unsure if my career will be in the classroom anymore. After taking a job three years ago as residence director, working in higher education in student affairs is so appealing. I get to do all of the things I want to do in the classroom without all of the restrictions, state assessments and grades linking to my effectiveness (a little merit to this one though). This semester alone, I’ve been able to teach RAs and freshmen about the bystander effect through gender roles. In a presentation that I hope would just make me sound somewhat intelligent as to not waste their time, so many students have approached me weeks after saying how much they still think about it or loved it. It blows me away each time because I just wanted to show students a little of what I’m passionate about. I still get to teach and deeply impact students. My supervisor has already talked me about presenting the topic to other professionals in the region at our next conference in June. A person in another department has approached me about creating an undergraduate course related to diversity using the themes I am already presenting. It’s just all so cool.

In a time where I am supposed to be thankful, I am super thankful for how lucky I am to learn what I love and do what I love. I am thankful for this because I acknowledge that not everyone has experienced the feeling of choosing the right job or field of study. It’s gut wrenching. I thought I was wrong for choosing to become an RD and doing a program in literacy education and it crushed me. It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was the right decision all along. I’m not teaching the way I ever imagined it, but I still get to use all the good info I am learning and apply it to college students. It is a little scary because I want to try to classroom at least one. I think what I am doing is just too much fun though.

I can’t wait to see what decision I’ve made come May 2015 when I’ve graduated from the program. Stay tuned!


Family and Getting Older

Christmas dinner has to be by far the most interesting dinner my family has had in a very long time. Coming home for the holidays this time around, I was worried about all the drama surrounding my family. Who will come for Christmas? Who would talk to who? What would be the big surprise no one saw coming (because there’s always one!)? In years past, I’ve felt so defenseless in these awkward situations often using my mom as a buffer between people and as a source of the gossip. This year, it was different. Being twenty three and living on my own (and away) for two years has made family members see me in a different light – more like an adult.

This year, I was able to intervene and stand up for myself along the way. This year, I was able to point out how silly some arguments have been and have a glass of wine while saying so. I’m not saying I solved all of my families problems tonight (not even close), but I felt more stake in this family now that I’m older. I spent more time in the kitchen preparing food and cleaning up this year. I can slowly sense the passing of the baton in a way that in a few years, my mom is going to expect me along with my cousins to be the ones to bring the family together for the holidays. Being an adult in this family has given me a sense of responsibility I never saw coming. Truthfully, the thought of getting older and being the one people depend on is very daunting and only makes me want to live further away where my excuse could legitimately be, “Can’t come home this year – too far away.” My cousins and I talked after dinner about how when it becomes our turn to host the family events, it will be different. Less stress, more togetherness and we’ll have fun along the way too. The thought of that actually makes it sound more exciting and more like something I would want to be part of consistently. We promised that we (along with future kids) wouldn’t behave the way our parents do at times because of how we’ve felt for so long about it. I deeply hope that’s a promise we can keep, but then I think our parents probably made similar promises and in the end, family happens.

With that, I’m reminded that we cannot choose our family and although we can complain about them, there’s a love deep down for for family (at least most of them). Surprisingly, my feelings about family come from my father who often reminded me that I should always do anything family even if the same type of love isn’t given in return. I understood what that meant a little bit more tonight. This holiday dinner made me cherish the times I’ve had with my family a bit more. I grew up a little tonight at the dinner table. Let’s see how I feel about this at Easter.