Friday, December 20, 2013

quarter life crisis

I had a friend in college tell me that for someone that talks as much as I do (spoiler alert, I talk a LOT), I never really reveal much about what's below the surface. And I suppose that is true, I have had a blog for 2+ years now, & even if you've read since the beginning, you know that I have 2 pugs, am engaged, live in Nashville, & am going to graduate school at Vanderbilt…. but not much more. I have been afraid to open up too much, to be vulnerable, for fear that my boss would find this corner of the internet, because of worries that I won't look perfect, & because of my own general anxieties.

Well, that last defining characteristic is about to change. As of January 14th, 2014 I will be Master Jessica… leaving Vanderbilt & giving up my dreams of becoming Dr. Jessica Ph.D.

But even writing "giving up" doesn't fit… I am transitioning, following my gut & jumping in with both feet to a new life path. And I couldn't be happier. Mind you I have been physically wrestling with this decision, battling it, struggling & fighting to find which way is up.

I don't think I can even put the words together to describe how disgruntled I had become with graduate school (& I have been trying to pen this post for MONTHS). I think my frustrations really came to a head in September (sorry if my 9/11 subject matter was insensitive to some)… I was searching, truly wondering "what I wanted to be when I grew up" & befuddled as to how everyone else seemed to have their shit act together. I didn't see myself using my Ph.D. (like EVER), I was facing more than a year of school ahead of me, & then WHAT? 

So I turned inward. I feel like I have been inside my own head (in a bad way) for the past 4 months, questioning E.V.E.R.Y. decision, feeling inadequate, & lost despite 26 years of experience on this planet. I literally began searching, starting with Google (where all legit searches find their origins), entering "how to become a ______"…. with everything from "professional organizer" to "stay at home pug mom" filling in that gaping blank.

And slowly but surly a plan started for form. An exit strategy. A satisfying move forward. Being that I am slightly massively OCD, I can't make a move without having the next 5 already in place. Again, I didn't want to feel like a failure, so I have hid these 4 months (or more, if I'm being honest) of struggle from you, afraid of floundering in the unknown, all across the internet. 

What's the next chapter look like? I have accepted a teaching position with Nashville Metro schools, and while I am still looking for where my exact placement will be, you are looking at a future high school biology teacher. 

And as for the blog, I am still committed, but truth be told, I don't know how things will change over the coming months… I might look back & think how na├»ve, but if I managed this situation while working insane graduate student hours, then I surely can keep it together as a teacher… riiiiiight?

Phew… the cat is finally out of the bag & onto the blog. If you have any questions about things, please leave a comment & I would love to expound upon them in a future post. 

Happy weekend y'all!

58 comments:

  1. I know exactly what it feels like to have/need to change paths. Sounds like the right decision for you and I am excited to read/hear about your future plans. Good luck to you.

    Carlee

    Little Sloth

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  2. You go girl! I know exactly how you feel. What is it about your mid-twenties that makes you question literally everything you know/feel/thought you knew?! It's awful. Changing career paths is so scary and difficult, but so rewarding if/when it works out (I'm trying to do it too, so I know what you've been going through)!

    And having a blog and a full-time job works, for the most part. With a lot of effort. And not a lot of great time for photos, especially in the winter when it's dark early... But it works :)

    xo Shay

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  3. Congratulations, Jessica! I am inspired with how you followed your gut and made this change happen! I'm sure you will be a great teacher.

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  4. Congrats on your change of direction, Jessica! My roommate just made a similar move (from marketing back to her original love, teaching) and it's been the best thing she's ever done. It will take some adjusting, but I know you're going to rock it. Congrats (p.s. I looooveeedddd my bio teacher in high school, so I'm sure you'll be just as awesome!).

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  5. One of my best friends was on the Ph.D. track, then changed her mind and stuck with a Masters. (She had a "Ph. Don't" party!) And now she's a middle school teacher and loves it! I also know someone who had been out of college a few years, had a perfectly good job, and decided to go to law school because she's a psycho who loves to torture herself. Oh wait, that second one's me. But I have no regrets! Anyway, you will figure it out and be Successful Jessica...I am confident!

    ~Sarah of Sarah's Real Life

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  6. Congrats on deciding. Sometimes that's the hard part. We need lots of good science teachers so what you're doing is awesome!!

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  7. Congrats on your new job. I know how hard it is to keep thing to yourself.

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  8. Good luck to you, Jessica! It's good you followed your gut and decided to make a change, even if it was a hard and scary one to make. I think you'll make a great biology teacher!

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  9. congratulations, jessica! don't keep this kind of stuff from us as i bet everyone here can relate to your struggles. i am going through something similar right now with my career path and have done the same google searches! i am so glad you found a home teaching and think you'll be amazing at it!

    ladies in navy

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  10. You should be very proud of your decision! Hopefully I will soon follow in your footsteps and jump feet first into a new experience, new job, new goal, etc. You are my inspiration! xxoo

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  11. It's difficult to change paths, but it seems like you made the right decision! You sound relieved and you have your whole life to decide what you want to do when you grow up because people may get older, but they never really grow up! Good luck with everything! You're going to be a great teacher!
    ~Sara

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  12. Good for you! I know what it's like to feel lost and confused and not want to put it out on your blog. I did that from September until a few weeks ago. It's always scary to put things on the internet that are so personal. I hope that you enjoy this new chapter of your life! I can't wait to follow along :-)

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  13. Look at you! Good going! Being a teacher can be hard, but also incredibly rewarding. My mom was a teacher for 30+ years and I have lots of teacher friends & they all Love it. Seems to me like you'd make a great high school teacher. Young & fun but very smart. Good luck with the new path. Don't look back! :-)

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  14. Well congrats on your changes! And congrats on the teaching position!

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  15. Jessica, I went through the same exact thing a few years ago, and honestly making the decision to so something else with my life (in my case it was leaving law school) was the best thing I've ever done. Good luck with this next phase in your life - and selfishly, I hope the blog posts keep coming!

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  16. Congratulations on this new life path! I recently made a big change, too. Left my job and home and moved across the country--just to do it! I am now unemployed, engaged, and though the future is SO uncertain it's still a lot of fun and I'm glad I did it. This is the age we get to take the plunge and enjoy the ride! Best of luck in your new path :)

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  17. Congrats on the new job....and also on making those life discoveries in the last little while. Growing up can be hard!


    Megan
    budgetfashion101.blogspot.ca

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  18. What a brave step Jessica, I'm so proud of you! I turned 23 this year and aside from being a stay-at-home-mommy/blogger I don't have a career path to show for it. While everyone else was busy in college I was having and raising a baby and I'm starting to experience my own quarter life crisis. I love how open and honest this post was and it helps to know that not everybody has it all figured out like I wish I did. Congratulations on your new position, you're going to be awesome!

    xoxo,
    Chelsea & The City

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  19. Congrats on working this all out with yourself! I have a few friends pursuing various scientific PhD's that have been finding themselves asking the same question -- for how long it takes, how tough it is, potential financial concerns, you really want to make sure it's worth the time and stress -- and I think you'll do wonderfully with your masters, definitely not a compromise by any means!!

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  20. Welcome to the wonderful world of teaching! Can't wait to follow you on this path. Teaching was a second career for me, so I understand your anxieties! When do you start?

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  21. Congratulations on the teaching position! I totally understand being in a weird place and not knowing what you wanted to do with your life, or where you were going to next. (See: my post from Tuesday). I truly admire you for having the insight and the bravery to know that the path you were on wasn't the right one, and I hope teaching gives you that fulfillment you're looking for.

    xo
    Sam

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  22. Congrats Jessica on making a big decision! I think it's awesome that you recognize that what you were doing was not what you are destined to do. I am sure you will make an awesome biology teacher! Good luck on your new career!!


    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  23. Girl, we all have these forks in the road of life. As long as you truly listen to yourself and not all the people that can get into our heads, you will be happy. "Nothing that's worthwhile is ever easy." I am sure there is now a sense of relief and weight taken off your shoulders. Sounds like you have made the best decision for you and your happiness. I am so happy for you!! Congratulations! Hope you have an amazing holiday season!


    --Krista
    www.junkindiggingettinlost.com

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  24. Good for you! I have 4 months of grad anxiolytics left. I have already dropped my dream of a ph.D. Grad school and working full time has made me sick of school. I am about over it. I'm very OCD too. Congrats to you for doing what makes you happy! I wish you the best of luck!

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  25. Wow, Jessica! Congratulations on making this move. I know how scary it is to change your life course after so many years of sticking to one plan, but it sounds like you were really ready to make a change and do something that makes you feel happy. I'm SO excited to see how your blog evolves as you become a teacher. One of my favorite teachers in high school was my biology teacher - she was feisty and smart and made it cool to be nerdy. Obviously, I loved that :) Now you get to inspire other young brainiacs like my teacher did to me! Good luck in your transition!!!

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  26. Good for you lady! Figuring out your path in life is never easy and it's an ongoing process for most (me, hand raised!). But luckily you only have to take it one step at a time and it sure sounds like you have the next step nailed down. I sure hope you keep blogging here because it is a bright spot in my day and probably in many others' as well. But do remember to be kind to yourself as you continue to grow and change - we are never done evolving and while that can be challenging, it's also exhilarating!

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  27. Wow, huge change for you! But congrats on realizing that you weren't doing what made you happy and figuring out how to change it. That is SO difficult! I bet you will be an amazing teacher!

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.com

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  28. I feel like I can totally relate. As a 26 year old myself, I feel like I'm constantly searching to figure things all out right this second. But good for you to be brave to do what YOU feel is right for you!

    Adri
    www.adrilately.blogspot.com

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  29. The fact that you followed you heart and made this decision for yourself is awesome. (Last February) At 26, I was in a similar situation as you. School was so frustrating and I was becoming super crabby and uninspired with, well, everything. I made a decision to put school on hold for a moment and go after my dreams. It took a lot for me to tell my family and fiacee and a few good friends. But once I did, it was like a weight had been lifted. It was the scariest and best decision I've made. It helped me grow up and realize that life is too short not to do what you really love. Let nothing hold you back from doing what YOU want. Bravo and I wish you all the best...XO!

    ~Whitney

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  30. Kids, specifically teenagers, are the best part of every day for me, and I am sure they will prove no less for you. Despite all of the politics involved in the profession, it is rewarding as long as you always remember what it's all about, and that's the kids. I am excited you chose high school! Everyone wants to teach the little ones, so I happily welcome you to the ranks of high school teaching! Oh, and be prepared to have a full grasp of the entire urban dictionary within a few months. ;)

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  31. Great job really sorting out what's best for you. It's not to be underestimated how hard it is to figure out what YOU need in the midst of everyone telling you what they think you should need. Good luck transitioning :)

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  32. Three years ago, I could have been the one writing this post so I definitely know where you're coming from! It can be so hard to stop something you think you're "supposed to do" even when you know it doesn't feel right. Congrats on actually listening to that voice and making a change! When I went into occupational therapy, I didn't see myself working in a school, but I can honestly say that I love my job everyday. I think you'll be an awesome teacher. Keep us posted on how it's going!


    Kaitlin
    www.teaandsequins.com

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  33. Congrats girl! Go get em & good luck. But you don't need it. You've got this. ;)

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  34. Oh I know how you feel!! I have been feeling the same way about my life. I have been so lost and confused… total quarter life crisis. I still haven't figured out what I want to do or where I want to go. But that is SO awesome that you took a step toward making things better. That is so exciting and wonderful! I feel like sometimes you start on a path and even though it doesn't seem right, so many people continue because they started on it. It takes real courage to follow your heart. Good luck! 2014 is going to be great!


    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

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  35. Ok I promise I read this post a while ago and meant to comment but didn't!

    Anyway, wow! Good for you girl!! I'm sure making a decision like that was tough, but: I think it's gonna be a great new path for you. I admire you for really going with your gut, that would be scary!

    And how exciting you'll be teaching in Nashville! You're gonna make an amazing (also, stylish) teacher! I'm not sure how many details you're wanting to share about where you're teaching but I have several close friends who have been student teaching/now finding jobs in Metro. I'm pumped for you! Can't wait to hear your teaching adventures :)

    perfectly priya

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  36. This is so awesome, Jessica! As we get older we realize happiness is all that matters and if that means no longer following the path we made for ourselves when we were 20, than that's okay. So so proud of you for making the tough decision and for sharing. Good luck with your new gig and I wish you all the best in 2014! :)

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  37. Thank you Alyssa! It can be very scary, but so freeing too! It's looking like I'll be somewhere around 8th grade biology - excited to get in there & start doing some experiments!
    xx

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  38. Oh my goodness, so relieved! I like what you said about having your whole life to decide what you "want to be when you grow up". I certainly do NOT have it all figured out, but I am excited about this next chapter & the journey ahead!
    xx

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  39. Kelly,
    I'm sorry to hear that you went through a similar period of life challenges/questioning… I hope that you have come out the other side with a new perspective. I have & it finally feels like I'm headed in the right direction!
    xx

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  40. Thank you Jen for all your support! I come from a long line of teachers too & am excited to follow in their footsteps!
    xx

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  41. Good for you Page! It makes me sad that there is so much shame in leaving a professional degree program… I felt like I was letting everyone down, but ultimately the only person I was disappointing was myself, because I wasn't fulfilling my vocational desires. I would love to keep the blog going as it, but I'm letting myself figure it out as I go.. stay tuned :)
    xx

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  42. Woah! You go girl - that is courage! I am doing my best to enjoy the ride, I definitely took the plunge, but it has always been so hard for me to let go and and "go with the flow".
    xx

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  43. Woo hoo! Master Ky! Growing up is rough, but I'm learning to love the journey instead of the designation :)
    xx

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  44. Chelsea, We are all in this together & I'm so happy to have found this community of supportive, brave women. I think that being a mom is a very under appreciated job, but one of the most important!
    xx

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  45. Thank you for the words of encouragement Liz! The hardest part was convincing myself that I wasn't a failure for "quitting"… I have chosen to use the word "withdraw" and am "transitioning" to teaching!
    xx

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  46. Yay! I am happy to be in such good company as yourself. I start pre-teacher training the last week of May, and will begin full time teaching in August. With the program I am apart of, I will be fully licensed by the end of the school year… here we go!
    xx

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  47. Thanks lady! Seems like the quarter-life crisis IS a real thing after all, so nice to know that I'm not alone, and that we are all in this together!
    xx

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  48. Woo hoo - so close girlie! You can do it! I am over school, but looks like I won't actually be leaving schools anytime soon ;)
    xx

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  49. Ooh that's exactly what I want to be for my students - a model of how being smart can be "cool" - like a woman Bill Nye (but maybe I'm the only one that thinks he is the ultimate cool!)
    xx

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  50. Thank you for your sweet words - I am finally learning to be kind to myself, it makes me a nicer person for the rest of the world too :)
    xx

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  51. Thank you! In my 26 years, I have found that I don't want to spend my days doing things that aren't fulfilling, and boy was grad school a life suck that never seemed to satisfy my hopes & dreams. Good luck on your own journey!
    xx

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  52. Whitney, I am forever inspired by women like you, going after your dreams. I am so honored to now be in your company - let's get it girl!
    xx

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  53. Thank you for these wise words Danielle - I'm told I will be fluent in both the Urban Dictionary and Spanish quite soon!
    xx

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  54. Phew, we both made it through the quarter life crisis! Happy to be on the other side of that rough patch, and moving forward with more fulfilling things in my life.
    xx

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  55. Thank you for your sweet words, I'm certainly cheering for you now!
    xx

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  56. Thanks lady! I never thought that I would be starting a new career path at 26, but am finally excited about what the future holds. I haven't picked a school yet, but it looks like I most likely will be in a Charter school, which is associated with Metro, but not exactly the same… I'm still figuring all that school politics stuff out!
    xx

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  57. I LOVE BILL NYE. Oh my gosh, please be the female Bill Nye - your students will love you forever!!! :)

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  58. You are so brave to be able to make this decision! I know exactly how you are feeling as I am in my master's program...do I continue? but for what...so that my parents can say their daughter has her doctorate? I too need to know what happens next before I make a move. I am so happy to hear (read) that I am not alone struggling with this. I hope that you enjoy your teaching position and that it bring you many more opportunities! And yes, keep blogging! :)

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xx