Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Next Chapter

I started grad school yesterday.

Those words still feel funny in my mouth. They are incredibly exciting to say, but also tinged with nervousness. When I was in high school, I was told I wasn't good enough to go to college. I was told to make alternate plans and maybe consider a community college if I was feeling adventurous. One of the best decisions in my life was deciding not to listen to the woman who told me that and signing my acceptance to Cabrini.

Still, I guess the nerves are natural. I am worried that I won't be good enough, that my tendencies to be a perfectionist will turn people off. I have two degrees in history, but I am choosing to make the switch to English. I am confident in my ability to teach English, but I also keep thinking about how hard I worked to be a good history teacher. The reality is that I need to stop thinking so much about what others might think of me and do what is best for myself.

I was accepted into a two year teaching fellowship with SJU. I am going to be placed at an inner-city school that has come with nothing but good recommendations. I have a friend who works there now and loves it. For not being much of a phone personality, all of my interviews went well. I know that this is where I am supposed to be going at this point in time. I shouldn't question it, but sometimes I still do.

Undergrad was easy for me; I worry about taking classes while teaching my own. Community this year was extremely difficult; I worry about similar situations in the next two years. Living on a stipend wasn't easy; I am still coming to terms with the fact that the first three years of my career will be based off of stipends. No savings, living very simply.

Despite all the worries I have, there are no misgivings. Every time I begin to doubt myself, I think about how far I have come in a year and how much farther I have to go. It's been a full year since I've graduated college, and I have been able to make a life for myself. I didn't go home to live on my parent's couch. I don't bemoan how the world is unfair to new graduates. I try to make the best of the situations I am placed into.

Well, most of the time.

Although I am starting a new chapter of my life, it doesn't mean that this one has to be completely closed. No matter where I go, in life and in the world, I will always remember my time on the Reservation and how it has shaped me so much in just a year. I am reminded that I can always come back, and I know that eventually, I will. And I am also reminded that although I will be physically gone in six weeks, memories live much longer than that.

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