Well many people have been asking me this question for awhile now and until last week really, I didn't have a good answer for them. But now I do!
Let me explain a bit what's been going through my head... so, for the past 4 years I have studied Elementary Education at EMU. Halfway through my sophomore year I started to have doubts about me wanting to be an educator. There were so many other classes and topics that I could be learning about but just couldn't because I was "stuck" on the education track. However, after many conversations with professors, family, and mentors, I decided to keep on keeping on in this program. Come junior year, I was lukewarm about the idea still and after my cross cultural experience in the spring of that year, I was convinced I was meant for a different path. Unfortunately, it was my senior year by this time and it was too late to change. I went through Literacy Block in the fall, intrigued about how to teach children how to read and then completed my Student Teaching in the spring. This semester was the biggest rollercoaster of emotions that I have ever experienced. I loved the students and my colleagues that I was working with but absolutely despised the lesson plans, the rigidity, and how discipline was being managed in the schools. I was expecting Student Teaching to tell me one way or another whether I was meant to teach, but alas, I was again left with mixed opinions.
Throughout my senior year I was constantly exploring job options, volunteer programs, just upping and leaving the country to travel, or simply learning to become a bartender. However, nothing felt right. And let me tell you, this is a disconcerting feeling when every one of your friends has a life plan laid out, they already have positions at excellent places, and everything is written out for the next few years. It felt like I was falling behind, that I was failing, and that I wasn't going to amount to anything. Even though I knew this simply wasn't true, it felt this way a large part of the year.
This isn't to say that I regretted/regret my decision to attend EMU, because this is simply not the case. The relationships I have built here have formed and shaped me to be the better person I am today and even though perhaps the traditional classroom isn't my calling, I feel very confident that the education program at EMU prepared me to relate to others in compassionate and unique ways that I will carry with me wherever I go in the future.
I walked across the stage in May with my fellow classmates still not having a plan. I've been in Harrisonburg for the past month and a half now enjoying life and finishing up online classes. Also, trying to figure out my (immediate) future for real. This is all to say that it's been a long path, but I have finally decided what I'm doing next year.
I wanted something where I would be living intentionally, preferably in a community of people because the prospect of moving to a new city by myself and knowing nobody was rather daunting. I also was interested in something that was completely different than what I have been doing these past four years and something that would be giving back to others while learning along the way myself. So, I was looking at a number of different volunteering/teaching organizations and I came across one that sounded like an exciting opportunity. I completed all the interviews and it all worked out!
I'm going to be volunteering with the DOOR/DWELL program in Denver, Colorado! If you're interested you can check out more about the overall program here: http://www.doornetwork.org/dwell/ .
I'm super excited about this and let me tell you, it feels good to finally feel passionate and excited about something after feeling uncertain and unsure for about a year. I know in my gut that this is the right decision for me as I will be spending the upcoming year serving others while discerning what the next chapter of my life will look like.
I'll be living in an intentional community house with other "Dwellers" (year-long volunteers), learning about social justice issues, working at a placement 4 days a week (I'll know soon where I'll be working), and then on the 5th day of the week will be doing volunteer work with other participants in our community.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout the years through conversation, letters, emails, financial support, and more. I'll have more info soon on how you can support me financially if you so desire.
I'll hopefully be posting semi-regular updates here on this blog as the year progresses so if you're interested in hearing/seeing what I'll be doing, feel free to stop by occasionally and check our what I'm up to!