I’m two weeks out from the three-day job placement conference and I still feel tired. I speed dated my way through five schools with whom I tried to portray myself as naturally and enthusiastically as possible despite my innate dislike of bragging about myself.
The whirlwind of interviews began with nervousness and ended with confidence. “I like you, do you like me?” Or rather “I love the work you’re doing, do you see me as a natural fit for your department?” It’s a dating game. 30 minutes of getting to know the person on the other side of the table. Maybe an hour the next day with a new face or two from that same department, all in the name of “Can we get along and make a difference in the lives of students together?” And then I move onto my next date, or rather interview. With another great school. And another hour and a half of getting to know each other. And I say to myself, “Yeah, I can see myself with you, too.” I walk away from the interviews feeling exhilarated and excited for my options.
And yet, the hard part begins: the waiting game.
I feel like this is what it all comes down to.
I applied to grad school. And waited to hear back.
I got accepted to grad school. And waited for it to start.
I turned in papers. And waited for a grade.
I applied to jobs. And now I wait.
What I’ve realized is that so much happens in those times of waiting. I look back and see these milestones of accomplishment (and defeat) and can see the time in between those as a blur of growth, discovery, pain, and happiness.
Applying to grad school was not hard. But focusing on the “here and now” of my last semester of college was. I poured my life back into my friends and my studies and told my parents to wipe the dust from my room at home.
And then I got the phone call.
Being accepted to grad school wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. I was scared. I questioned my preparedness. I spent my summer doing an internship that affirmed why I was pursuing this degree and what I wanted out of it. And then it made sense again.
I hunched over my computer and my notebooks at night for countless hours and submitted myself to the scrutiny of my professors’ red pens and critical eyes. And I learned about focus. And topics that excite me. And how to work on a deadline. And what I need to de-stress. And then I would get my grades back and learn that it wasn’t about that outcome, but rather the process.
I applied to five beautiful jobs in the Northwest. I wrote individualized cover letter after cover letter, asking myself the whole time if this was really what I wanted. And then I interviewed with those schools. The ease at which I was able to talk about my excitement for working with students raised my confidence with each word I spoke.
I may not speak using an academic lexicon. I may never get an A on a paper. But I will bring passion into what I do. And if that’s not what a school is looking for, then they’re definitely not gonna go for this ball of energy that is me.
As I wait to hear back about ANYthing concerning my future, I am reminded constantly (mostly by friends) to breathe.
And on that note, I’m going to get back to work. Taking the time to breathe in my experience over the last few weeks via furious tapping at my keyboard has been lovely, but I’ve got parent newsletters to send out and room changes to authorize.
Always waiting, always smiling,