Essay 1 of 52: Vocation
There is no degree for Admissions Counselors.
We find our way to this position in a jumble of different ways - unsure of what career to pursue, unable to get any other job, "advancing" up the university ladder.
I came home from South Korea totally unsure of what job I wanted. I remember sitting in front of the computer, seeing job after job and knowing none of them were quite right. I remember going to a career advisor and him asking, "What type of job do you want?" and having nothing to answer with.
When I moved to Seoul, I was essentially escaping the "What kind of job do you want?" question. I was filling that void with travel and adventure. As great irony would have it, I really loved my job. It was difficult always being the outsider - the only American female in a group of 13 teachers, but the job itself? I loved it.
Our classes were small and structured. I had trouble students, but since I couldn't speak Korean, my co-teacher really had to handle most of that. I got to invent writing games for my advanced students - something right up my alley. I got to be admired, hugged, drawn, and praised by my students. I saw progress being made, day in and day out.
So when I came back to the states, I thought, maybe childcare?
It was a disaster. I worked in a low-income daycare/preschool for students in a rough part of town. It was the first job I was offered, and I jumped at it. It meant I could be home in the evenings and keep working with kids.
But I only lasted two weeks.
The classes were overcrowded and the discipline was non-existent. I literally had to ask three-year-olds, "Now was that a good choice? What choice will you choose next time?" That was the extent of discipline power I had. Nice in theory, terrible in practice.
I felt like the worst version of myself every. single. day. I cried in my car during lunch. I cried when I got home. And when my application for substitute teaching arrived in the mail, it seemed like a get out of jail free card.
So the girl who never quits anything, marched right into the school, 6 days after her first day, and quit. I gave them four days notice. They expressed gratitude that I hadn't just driven away without notice. (Apparently that has happened before?)
So I began to sub. The ultimate in-between job. I moved to different schools each day, spending exhorbant amounts of time in my car during recess, lunch, and off period. I read a lot. I cried a lot. I generally felt lost.
And then I ran into an old teacher of mine, who was planning on creating a new position in his department on campus. He needed an assistant. He remembered me and remembered my work ethic. (If you get nothing else from this, know that your character in college is the ultimate door opener)
And just like that, I was back at my alma mater, less than a year from graduating. It felt so strange to be back. I remember being a student and feeling such a sense of belonging, of purpose. And now I was back as an employee, feeling entirely lost and devoid of purpose. I felt like I had failed my English professors, who expected bigger things from me: graduate school, publishing houses, newspaper columns, etc. I felt like I failed. And ended up where I started.
A year into my position with the Honors program, I had the opportunity to advance into Admissions. It was a big raise and I had realized how much I missed being around co-workers, instead of a tiny department of two. I was lonely for company and Admissions was the answer.
I am so thankful for my job. So thankful for the steady paycheck and the security I have been given. I am incredibly thankful for understanding bosses, a Christian workplace, and holiday vacation days. (The real world doesn't have those, btw.)
But there was always this nagging feeling, this disappointment I feel. This dissatisfaction.
Do you want to know what my dream job is?
I don't have one.
But I have a dream purpose. A desire for what I want my life to look like.
I want to help my husband create an incredible career. I want to get him through the rest of graduate school and doctorate school and internships and fellowships. I want to have children, and raise them to be the most incredible Godly examples to their peers. I want to host people in my home. I want my marriage to be an example of forgiveness and God's faithfulness. I want to mentor young girls and be mentored by older women. I want a house that feels like an oasis - a bit of rest in this crazy world. I want to write. And I want my writing to tell at least one young girl, "You are not in this alone. You matter."
And I've always wanted those things more than any career, any degree. And if working as an Admissions Counselor for a few years gets me closer to those goals above, then I am working my dream job. I am pressing on towards something great.