Category Archives: Future Plans

It’s Official

Today I officially accepted my position as a secondary school social studies teacher in Alabama!

I’m not sure what the next two years will bring, but I couldn’t be more excited to find out. I love the idea of living in Alabama, getting a true southern twang, teaching history to high schoolers, and making a difference in someone’s life.

If I change the trajectory of even a single person’s life over the course of the next two years, I will consider my time as a teacher a huge success.

I don’t feel like I am joining Teach For America under any illusions of grandeur. I know my classroom wont be as sterile as in Freedom Writers or Precious. I don’t anticipate any moving speeches or standing ovations (though I do anticipate lots of tears — hopefully at least some being of the proud variety). And I know that I will be heading into the hardest two years I have yet to experience (though at the moment I have a difficult time imagining things more stressful/challenging than they are right now).

I am actually rather proud of myself for walking into this with my eyes open. No romanticizing things — expect maybe living in the bayou. I’m definitely shamelessly guilt of romanticizing that one. I already envision long solitary walks with my trusty camera, taking gazillions of pictures and filling my head with tons of stories set in the Deep South. I literally can’t wait to live there.

But I am thankfully empty of rosy-hued imaginings of teaching. Probably because there aren’t enough details to wrap my imagination around. I don’t know the specific grade level (could be anything from 7th to 12th), nor do I know the specific topics (could be anything from the beginning of time to the present day).

And I think lacking in grand visions of a clean-cut, perfectly attentive, adoring classroom will probably do me the most good. Let’s just hope I can keep it that way.

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Filed under Future Plans, Senior Year, Teach For America

Yesterday’s Turn of Events

7:30 a.m. — Wake up. Immediately remember that today is the day I hear back from Teach For America (TFA). Burrow further down in my covers for a second, working to calm my roiling stomach.

8:00 a.m. — Go to the gym. A rather infrequent event that I hope to turn into a regular Tuesday/Thursday routine. It feels amazing to just up and run for a while. I need cardio back in my life.

11:00 a.m. — Meet someone at the Student Film Production Club (SFPC) equipment closet to check equipment back in. SFPC responsibilities are officially back in full swing.

1:30 p.m. — Report to work at National Scholars Office. Pick up kid at the Honors College and walk back to the north end of campus while trying to convince him that OU is awesome.

2:30 p.m. — Back at the office, I log in to my email address. I’ve been on edge all day, but I’m not expecting to hear from TFA until the late afternoon, so I don’t expect anything.

I’m not emotionally prepared for the first email that greets me.
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Filed under Future Plans, Senior Year, Teach For America

. . .

Carpe diem.

[Seize the day.]

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Filed under Future Plans, Inspiration, Quotes

Losing My Zen

The fastest way to lose all this great inner peace stored up over the break is to start thinking ahead toward the coming semester. Then the illusion of “Oh, I’ll have so much free time to be creative because I’m only taking twelve hours” comes crashing down, revealing the behemoth of extra-curricular activities and responsibilities to which I’ve already committed (and conveniently tend to push into the back recesses of my mind).


I can feel my zen deflating like one of those helium balloons left out in the cold too long.

It’s funny, because I do this absolutely every single semester (you’d think I’d know better by now). I start by simplifying my upcoming responsibilities in my mind so they feel manageable. And once I’ve drawn myself a comforting black and white picture, I look at that and only that — until a couple weeks before the semester starts. Then, when it comes time to write goals and make plans, all the nuances of all the little things that I’m also committeed to flood in. And I freak out. Stress out. Freeze.

This freezing business is dangerous. For example, I’m starting to get important emails again. Important emails that I really should have replied to today (or yesterday). I should not leave them for tomorrow (or Monday). But the sub-zero-ness of stress has taken me over, and I can’t respond.

Or wont.

It’s a slippery slope.

My refusal to rejoin the world of the working is just the first step, I imagine. I’ll probably progress with alarming swiftness to more dangerous things like running traffic lights, not voting, and stealing purses from old ladies.

Save me from myself!!!

Anyway, instead of doing my work, I continue to blog and read memoirs and take naps. I live in denial that I only have a week and a half until classes begin. Of course, once they do, I’ll be kicking myself that I didn’t start on all these projects earlier.

Which I really should. Really really really should.

Maybe I should take up yoga. Get some of that zen back. Except instead of chanting “Om,” I can slip in a couple extra syllables and say something like “Don’t streeeessssssssssss” and “Dooooooo yoooooooouur wooooooooooorrrrrkkkk.”

The last one has a nice calming drone to it.

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Filed under Future Plans, Musings

Resolutions for 2011

I love this time of year. It combines so many of my favorite things — writing lists, looking forward, making plans.

I’ve compiled my newest set of New Years Resolutions. For the year 2011. Never thought it would come.

2011 has always been this far off, imaginary time. The year I graduate from college. Those four digits have been on applications and resumes (and even a red baseball cap gathering dust in my closet) for the last three years, always distant and abstract. But now it’s here and it’s real and it’s kinda freaking me out.

And because the make-up of the next year is hazy at best, my resolutions are also fairly vague. They’ll solidify as we creep into the new decade, I’m sure.

I hope.

I mean, right?

Anyway, here, my friends, are my resolutions for the new year (and in part, the new decade).
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Filed under Future Plans, Lists

Readjusting Expectations

Coming back to my hometown always takes an adjustment. The city (does it really count as a city?) never seems to change — same streets, mostly the same businesses, mostly the same people– and yet it all feels different.

There’s now nothing to do.

I have no idea how I managed to stay entertained in high school.

Also, the house I grew up in has since been sold, so when I’m here I stay in a new place with different smells and sounds. I know it doesn’t seem like much, and I guess I’d have hoped that by the time I was getting ready to graduate I wouldn’t need that traditional “home” feeling anymore. But I still do. And it’s not there anymore. A bit sad, in a way.

But I’m not saying that I completely dislike the challenges of a new place. They can be fun. For example, as I’ve stated before, setting up a new kitchen is really a blast.

And I love organizing other people’s stuff. I get this strange satisfaction from looking at a mess and transforming it into a comfortable, livable space. Clutter stresses me out.

So, being the great guy that he is, my dad has pretty much given me free reign of setting up and organizing his apartment. Currently sitting on his kitchen counter is a running list of all the things he needs to get his bachelor pad in good shape for after I leave.

I think that if all my other career ideas don’t pan out, I’ll just become a professional organizer and have people hire me to organize their lives.

I’m reluctant to admit I can think of only a handful of careers that sound like more fun. Writing, producing, and wedding planning are some of them. I think I’m officially adding professional organizer to my list of potential life paths. The more the merrier, right?

Back on the topic of adjustments . . . The other thing about coming back to Billings is that people move or change, or both (which is good). Very few people have stayed the same, even if it sometimes feels like this town is in a constant state of stagnation.

So the list of people I make a point of seeing every break keeps getting smaller and smaller, until I’m at the point where I only see three or four people (though those three or four are very special to me). I spend the rest of my time at coffee shops, writing and thinking of home. Oklahoma is home. Temporarily, at least.

Then I’ll move and make a new home.

Sorry I keep talking about this. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve termed it “the plague of the petrified soon-to-be college graduate.” Catchy, right?

I’m looking into trademark options as we speak.

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Filed under Future Plans, Musings

Graduating with Distinction (and Some Street Smarts)

It was with no small measure of pride that I watched Brittany, one of my amazing roommates and a very good friend for the last three and a half years, walk across the stage this morning and receive her college diploma. She is officially a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and it is incredible to me that she has already reached this point in her life. Where did the time go?

I can still remember so much about freshman year — sitting in the hallway on edge as we waited for our sorority t-shirts (telling us which sorority we’d be a part of), suffering from unrequited crushes on upperclassmen, Tuesday lunch dates at Couch Express (best bread bowl soup ever), getting all gussied up for girls night dinners in Bricktown, painfully awkward sorority date parties, our trips to the gym at 11 p.m. (we were crazy), freaking out because we had to write a five page paper, the point system we developed to attempt escape from the Freshman Fifteen (10 pts for going to the gym, etc… you needed to earn 20 before you got to get dessert at the caf).

We came into university life all doe-eyed and ambitious, and while I think we leave with a little less naivety and unsupportable idealism, we definitely leave with the same healthy dose of ambition — grounded in reality and the successes we’ve all seen over the last four years.

I am so proud of my roommates. Not just Brittany, but all four of them. And when it’s time for the rest of us to walk across that stage, I think we’ll be ready. Like the commencement speaker at Brittany’s ceremony said today, we’ve been trained well. OU and our lives here have perfectly prepared us for that moment when we shake hands, take pictures, and hold that little square of paper that tells us we are officially ready for the real world. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

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Filed under Future Plans, Memories, Nostalgia, Senior Year