Thursday, April 9, 2015

The road less traveled.

I turned 24 on March 7, 2015... that was about 4 weeks ago.

Sitting here, I can think back to when I turned 16, 18 and 21. 
The milestone birthdays.
The expectations that arise with each birthday

For my 16th birthday, I invited all my high school friends over to my house and we had a giant barbecue. That's when everyone in MA get's their driving permit. 
I didn't get mine until I was 17...

When I turned 18, I went over to my friends house and they surprised me 
with a small party, cake and homemade cards.
You're expected to start buying scratch tickets because you can.
I've only ever bought one and yes, it was the night of my 18th birthday.

And when I turned 21, I decided to go out to dinner with all my friends and continue the night at a bar with the ones who had already turned 21. 
Lucky for me Brendan also got to attend this birthday celebration!
That's when you're life is expected to hit a downward drinking spiral.
I hate drinking.

I've never followed social norms and I've always been okay with that.

It wasn't until the few months before turning 24 that I started to judge myself based on how far behind at life I was...

So why 24?

When you tun 22, you're expected to be wrapping up your undergraduate college career.
When I was 22, I still had 2 years left at Lesley University!

When you turn 23, you're expected to finally be somewhat an adult. If you've followed the 4 year college plan, by now you've graduated. Everyone knows that for the next year, income will be unsteady and you'll spend all your time looking for a job. 
When I was 23, I still had a year of undergrad left.

When you turn 24, however, boom! You're an adult. You're expected to have a legitimate job with a steady income which puts your degree to work. You're expected to start putting money away so that one day you can settle down and buy a house. 
Let's just say when I'm no where near any of those things.
I turned 24, had just finished my last undergrad semester and I hadn't even received my diploma in the mail yet... I'M SO FAR BEHIND!

What ever happened to living in the present?

Going into my 24th birthday, I felt discouraged because I was about 1.5 years behind the 'typical timeline of a college graduate.'

I found myself thinking "I can't believe it's taken me so long to het here" when I should have been thinking "Yes, I've finally gotten here!"

I was so hung up on the fact that I was still living at home, working a part time job, in an after school program, with no actual tangible diploma or teaching degree.

All of my friends had graduated last year, so I was bumming on that too.

But, I'm not them. Why am I comparing myself to them?

Not to mention all these random questions I had for myself about the future.
Where should I go to grad school?
Will I ever work full time?
I'll never be able to afford a new car.
Will I ever have a legitimate teaching job?
No one will pre-approve me.

What about living in the present?

If you're always looking towards the future, you'll never live in the present.

Just because I turned 24 doesn't mean I need to be discouraged about all the things I haven't yet done in life. I will get there, whether I'm 5 steps behind or in front of anyone else.

It's important to remember not to compare yourself to anyone.
It's also important to remember that life has no timeline. 

Our society creates these social norms as a way to judge everyone against each other. 
Who's more successful?
Who's living the dream?
Who's smartest?
Who's got the perfect family? 
Who's a failure?
Who's on track?
Who missed their oppertunity?

Everyone has their own personal timeline.
As long as you are happy and in a good place that is all that matters.

Don't compare yourself to anyone.
I choose to take the road less traveled.

At first I was nervous about telling everyone I was 24. I'm not where 'I should be' according to society.

But, I've one so much I'm proud of...
I finally finished college.
 I got my diploma in the mail a week after my 24th birthday!
I was granted my teaching license for the state of MA a few days later!
I paid off my car.
I have money to splurge on myself. 
I am happy.
I am 24.

Those are the things that matter most to me right now.

Now it's your turn to ask yourself, are you living in the present or in the future?

Until next time,


The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The good, the bad, and the ugly: My college experience

Let's rewind back to September of 2009. 

I was an eager college freshman, living out of state at Salve Regina University. I was a chemistry major and a dance minor and I had just started a new relationship.... 

While at Salve, I danced with the company. To this day I refer to them as my saviors. I don't know what I would have done without them. 

Because I wasn't doing so well in my classes (something I was not use to) I had to meet with an advisor once a week. Our conversations were great and it was in his office I realized that chemistry was not the right career path for me. I somehow always ended up talking about the dance company instead. It was the only thing at Salve that I actually dedicated my time and energy towards. 

Well, let's just say between gradually realizing that your dream school was actually your worst nightmare and that your relationship was quickly evolving into the most unhealthy relationship ever, I left after one year.

I moved back home and enrolled the following September in Community college (which coincidentally happened to be the same school my ex-asshole was enrolled in) ...

I felt like I dug myself a huge hole which I had fallen through.
I landed in a dark tunnel with no exit.

I spend the next year and a half taking as many Gen Ed classes as I could all while trying to figure my life out.

A year into community college my relationship got even worse, having gone from just mentally abusive to now also physically abusive. I was called names, told what to do, talked down to, hit repeatedly, stalked, threatened and followed around. I lost pretty much all of my friends and my relationship with my family was also greatly effected. 

There was no light at the end of the tunnel.

So, I spend a lot of my free time looking back on high school and how I use to be. 
I loved everything about high school and I used my memories as a way to cope with all the sadness and loneliness I was feeling. 

You see, I always loved dance, but I could never justify majoring in the art because, lets face it, you can't make a living off of it. But I did remember how much joy it brought me working as an assistant on the weeks in the classes for 4 and 5 year olds.

That May I decided to switch my major from Undecided to Early Childhood Education.

My life was finally getting back on track. 
I finally found a dim light at the end of the tunnel. 
It was still unreachable, but at least it finally showed up!

That June, I broke up with the evil-worless-excuse-of-a-human that I had wasted almost two years on and enrolled in my third and final semester of community college.

Everything was starting to come back. I was a strong, independent person again. I was the person I use to be. 

I even reconnected with someone who I had previously fallen for back in high school. It didn't work out then but as of right now second time seems to be the trick. We went on our first date in November of that year (2012) and the rest is history :-)

I also began  applying as a transfer student to colleges in the area. That's when Lesley University popped up in my research. It's known to be the 'Harvard of Education' and I made that my reach school.

Lucky for me, I was able to maintain a 3.9 GPA while in community college, so that of course made me much more confident applying as a transfer.

I got my acceptance letter and in January of 2013 I enrolled in my first semester at Lesley.

At this point, 2.5 year as an undergraduate student seemed more like 10. 

I felt like I was never going to graduate. I felt like that light at the end of the tunnel was getting farther and farther away.

Then, all of a sudden, that light was 
just around the corner.

Three years later, with a few minor set back, many awful administrators and a dozen weird classmates I can finally say that not only have I graduated and received my diploma from Lesley, but I have also received my official teaching license!

It took me five and a half years to get to this place. Its now March 2015 and I am the happiest girl in the entire world.

...I've never been closer to my family. I love and appreciate them.

...I have the best job and the best coworkers.

...That boy I reconnected with three and a half years ago will one day be my future husband.
We just celebrated out three year anniversary! 

...The idea of graduation has now become reality.

I finally made it out of the tunnel.

If you ever feel like giving up, don't.
If you feel discouraged, do something about it.
If you feel like things aren't going the way they should, find your voice and stand up for yourself.

I hope that my story can shed some light to someone.
This isn't just about my college experience.
This has been about my life experience over the past 6 years.

It does get better.
6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years.
It ALWAYS gets better.

You just can't give up!

Until next time,