The summer job I’m really looking forward to has the following stats on employment:
Now, I’m really excited about this job. I knew it would be tough to get, but I also knew that I needed to get it, I had nowhere else to go.
I also know that the stats might not be completely accurate, but I’m going to go with it.
So here’s the question: Why do my graduate programs, which have the same exact stats, not accept me?
The thing that’s been nagging me, that’s been at the back of my head for years and that I’ve had to constantly push back at, is the thought that maybe I’m just not cut out for what I want to do. Maybe teaching, since I love to read/write, is the way to go. I’m good at it. I enjoy it. My kids, of all ages, love me. Was I made to do this and not what I really want to do? Am I chasing after something I’m never going to have because I’m just not good enough?
I enjoy teaching, but my heart’s not in it. Teaching’s not the end. It never can be. It probably sounds selfish, but teaching is for others. It’s a selfless career, and I’m not that selfless. I couldn’t spend my life teaching, I would never feel as if I’d accomplished anything.
I can’t even write anymore. I’m so miserable that I’ve forgotten how to write.
Or maybe my summer job people just didn’t have as much interest this year. They were awfully quick to hire me, maybe they really needed teachers?
*sigh* It’s just been a really tough three years, and the way things are going, this year isn’t looking to be any better.
Acceptance is the key to a lot of things. I learned this in regards to time. I’m always late. Always, always, always. To school, to work, to social gatherings, to movies. It’s not usually a significant lateness, 10 minutes on average, but I’m always late. Don’t ask why I can’t just leave 10 minutes early, the lateness is logic-defying.
Every time I leave the house, however, I start stressing. I speed, look at the clock every 15 seconds, pray, get mad at other drivers, etc. By the time I arrive at my destination I’m nervous and upset.
So I’ve started accepting. I get in the car, drive for a little bit, then, as the time I’m supposed to be at my destination gets closer, I look at the clock and do a quick calculation. If it’s 4:25 now, I’m approximately 17-18 minutes away from work, that means I’ll get there around 4:45. I take a deep breath and tell myself, “You’re going to be 15 minutes late to work today.” Then, I sit back, turn up the volume on my music, and enjoy the rest of the ride.
I arrive 15 minutes late, I face my supervisors like an adult (to be honest, they don’t really care, I just get myself worked up about lateness all the time), and walk in calm and happy.
I’m telling you, it may sound simple, but it’s the key to a long and happy life. I’m sure I’ve added years onto my life just by doing this.
So I’m going to try and apply that same trick to my life as it stands now. I’m going to accept that I’m not going to graduate school in the fall. There will always be a tiny sliver of hope at the back of my mind, no matter how much I “accept, but I need to accept that there is not going to be a graduate school. There is no other way I can do this. If I could, I would write it out, try and explain through words what it will to do to me to not have that. But words can’t do justice to how much I needed this, so I will not try. Maybe acceptance will help me get through it.
At my last job, where I thought I’d found my niche (go figure, that wasn’t it either), we had a meeting one day with someone who was helping us fund raise. He was a very nice man, very sweet, accomplished, very much a gentleman, and someone who really knew what he was doing. I don’t even remember his name, but I remember his sincerity.
Our “company” was all of four people, including me, the intimidated intern. Our office was a loft where we’d sit around the center table for meetings, then go back to our open desks at each corner of the room when we were done.
So we came around the center table when this man came down for this particular meeting. The first thing we did, as is the norm, was go around the table and introduce ourselves. I turned bright red when it was my turn (that was my MO at the time; turn red whenever I had to speak in front of more than one person. How am I doing this teaching thing again?), and said all of two sentences about myself: “Hi, my name is x. I have a BA in political science from the University of y. I graduated in 2009, and kind of stumbled on this company, and here I am.”
I think my boss and coworkers mentally rolled their eyes at this, relatively used to as they were at my lack of speech. But somehow this man saw beyond my shyness. It was extraordinary to me, and still is, because I had never thought that people could and would look beyond my go to lines that I gave them about my life. Friends, okay, maybe, but not people in his position who had absolutely no reason to think about me, much less to care about me.
I’m not some class-ist person who thinks everyone has their place and should be treated accordingly, but this man’s attitude really touched me.
He was the last person to introduce himself, and he did so very modestly, briefly touching on a hand full of things he’d done and leaving my boss to do a full introduction. But at the end of his introduction, he brought it back to me. “We’ve all come here from very different places”, he said, “and we all have very different stories as to what brought us to this field. You (gesturing to me) simplified your story a lot, but I know you’ve taken a very roundabout way to get here. Your background, even just in college, was twisted and varied, and your path here wasn’t straight.”
That really touched me. Especially because he really had no way of knowing that. Many people are sent to that company as interns from my school, especially the political science department. I could very well have taken a very straight path there. Maybe my twisted emotions and intense longing to discover a niche were more transparent than I thought!
So here’s a quote in celebration. It’s from a friend who’s been wanting me to read Galeano, whom I’d never heard of before. It encapsulates very well what I’m feeling, and is lyrical and beautiful and true.
“Every promise is a threat, every loss a discovery. Courage is born of fear, certainty of doubt. Dreams announce the possibility of another reality, and out of delirium emerges another kind of reason. What it all comes down to is that we are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing synthesis of the contradictions of everyday life.” – Eduardo Galeano