Post Grad Grad Post
I know I said I would comment on the Minnesota Marriage Equality bill passing last week, but then I finished teaching and graduated last weekend so those events sort of took over my thoughts.
This is how I imagined teaching would be before I started. This was closer to the truth.* I’d like to think I’m more interesting than Ben Stein, but I did have a fairly reticent class. And, when they didn’t answer, I would often say, “Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?” Sadly, none of them got it. Thankfully, this was not my experience (well, not with most students), but I did have a colleague who could have written that video. I finished grading their portfolios last night and one student’s process notes paper nearly brought me to tears. This student wrote of having a hard time expressing her feelings before this class. She was one of my most reticent students, but she wrote about how this class helped her overcome the fear of speaking up and sharing her work. What she wrote about the course– about me as a teacher–made me choke up. I understand why people choose teaching: it’s for those moments.**** I can only hope I helped the other students as much.
Last week I also finished my formal education as a student. Grad school has been a long and rugged road, bookended by the worst winters of my life (both personally and weather-wise) and even though I’m glad it’s done and I have my degree, I’m overwhelmed by a mixture of feelings. Relief, sure, and excitement at having a large portion of my life freed up (which I have, of course, already begun to fill with various projects and social activities). Anxiety over finding a job and possibly moving. Apprehension about the future and not having anything set (job, home, relationship, city). Worry that I might not find a job soon and will be unable to pay my bills. Worry that I might fail at a new job. Worry that I might take a job that I hate. Worry that I might not make it as a writer. Really, just a lot of worry in general.
Maybe as a result of this worry, or to escape it, every year around this time my thoughts turn elsewhere and I’m drawn to the idea of moving somewhere new and starting over. The possibility to reinvent myself is so alluring. Every year something has kept me in the area: the program, a job, last year a boyfriend. But, now that my degree is all done and I can finally move elsewhere, I’m less inclined to do so.***** For one thing, my sister and brother-in-law just moved here, and I love having them nearby. For another thing, the rest of my family is pretty settled in the area, so I will always have roots here. But, I’ve realized lately that the older you get, the harder it is to move (by yourself) across the country and start over. I have a network here; most of my writing contacts are in the Twin Cities and I’m a member of some great local writing groups. So, I guess I’m saying I’m staying. For now.
Eight years ago today, I started working at my first professional job at the CCRB. Four years ago yesterday, I left that job. Three years ago tomorrow, I started my current job. I don’t know where I’ll be eight years or four years or even a year from today, but I’m here now. I’m trying to make the most of it.******
*I love that a young Kristy Swanson** plays Simone in the Bueller scene.
**The REAL Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sorry, SMG.***
***Sarah Michelle Gellar.
****I also understand why they need an extended break. Whoo hoo summer! Oh wait, I have a non-teaching job, too.
*****Don’t get me wrong, Hawaii will always be on my radar. Especially if it snows here in June. Then I’m buying a one-way ticket to Honolulu, you can join me if you want.
******My first action after graduating? Watching Iron Man 3. Totally appropriate. Also appropriately, the first thing I got on Netflix after Saturday was the movie Post Grad, a totally cheesy romantic comedy starring Alexis Bledel as a recent grad who needs to find a job and figure out her life. Thank you, past Sarah, for putting that in exactly the right spot in my queue. You know me so well. Now that I’ve seen how obnoxious a recent grad can be, I can get on with my life.