Making a life-changing decision is never easy, and I should know because I made one over four months ago, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I never thought I’d become a teacher. I majored in English in both college and graduate school because I loved reading and was a great writer. I had dreams of becoming Editor-in-Chief of a fashion magazine, perhaps the next Anna Wintour, but by the time I was a sophomore in college, I realized that wasn’t the substantial and meaningful work I wanted to do. Unsure about what my future would entail with an English degree, I spent my summers interning at radio stations, newspapers, and, eventually, summer schools–and I flocked to teaching like a moth to a flame. It wasn’t until, perhaps, my third year of teaching that I realized that maybe it wasn’t teaching I was drawn to, but my students. I enjoyed hanging out with them, advising them, and helping them become healthy, whole, and happy individuals. But what did that look like professionally? What kind of career could I find that would allow me to do that work and get paid for it? Well, it wasn’t until a year ago or so that I learned the answer to my question: become a child and adolescent therapist. And it wasn’t until four months ago that I finally dropped everything, took a risk, applied to the number three school in the country…and got in!
This process was so overwhelming and downright terrifying for two reasons: 1) the school’s prestige, which naturally caused me to question my worth and intellect and 2) the program’s structure, which requires me to attend school full-time. I have bills to pay, how can I do that without a full-time job? But I love my students, what will they do without me? But I’m just starting to get settled at my new job, what if I don’t find another great school? But I haven’t been in school for years, what if I’m not smart enough? These are questions that not only plagued me for months and months, but also filled my head with great doubt and every bone in my body with tons of stress. Despite all these feelings and concerns, I knew where my heart was, I knew that my purpose was bigger than the classroom, and I owed it to myself and my students to at least figure it out. So, I went for it, and here I am less than a day after my admissions decision still reeling from my acceptance letter.
In seven months, I will take another leap when my program starts in the fall. I will return to the classroom and be a student for the first time in five years. Boy, what a change that will be! But I’m optimistic and excited and nervous and ready. I never thought my life would turn out like this. So many twists and turns and experiences detailed on the pages of my resume with one tiny thread weaving throughout, all leading me here. And right here is where I’d rather be. This is where the magic happens. This is where we’re tested and challenged and we make meaning. We lose and we gain. We live and we learn.
Sometimes we don’t get a chance to decide where we’ll end up. Sometimes we’ll take this journey by the metaphorical horns and steer it in whatever direction we choose. Sometimes we’ll take the long road to our destiny. Whatever route you choose to take or don’t take, make sure you take whatever opportunity life throws your way (or you actively find) and run with it. Lean into all these moments and trust your gut. Throw fear aside. We may not always know where life is taking us, but if we relinquish just a little control, stay strong, believe, and go for it, I promise you the stars will align and show you more than you ever imagined. Open yourself up to the possibility of the impossible. It’s all worthwhile.