About a year ago I began a long journey that started with a huge leap of faith. I decided to quit my career and pursue a second bachelors degree and a career in education. I thought a lot about my decision, and it was not an easy one. I spent a lot of time thinking about ways to make this work, weighing the pros and cons, and trying to decide if this is what I really wanted to do. But ultimately, I knew that it was, and I knew I could do it.
Talking my husband into this idea was difficult, and I couldn’t blame him. I wanted to spend thousands of dollars to go back to school, followed by quitting my good-paying job, all without the promise of an available teaching position once I was done. My husband is the type of person who will always be content with what he has. He is happy in life, with his job, and with the way things are. He did not understand my desire for change, and was nervous about it. He is not one for loans, and he was (understandably) worried about the financial aspect of this adventure. Could we afford a mortgage payment, two car payments, insurance, bills, food, etc. on just his income? What if I didn’t find a job teaching? How long could we last with our savings? How much savings were we willing to sacrifice to my crazy schemes? Who could blame him? I was asking a lot, and I knew it.
Ultimately though, he wanted me to be happy and he supported my dream. And so I began taking classes. Online, at night, as many as quickly as I could. I worked two sometimes three jobs to save money, knowing I would have to quit my job to student teach. We cut back on spending, started packing lunches, and convinced my brother to move in with us and pay rent. We paid my tuition out-of-pocket, and saved everything we could for about 14 months.
Finally, the day came for me to quit and begin student teaching. It was an exciting and terrifying day. I was so excited to begin my new career, and so scared that I had made a huge mistake and would cause my family financial hardships. But I took the leap and didn’t look back. I had come too far to second guess myself now.
I knew I could do this. I began student teaching at a local high school. It was an amazing experience. I loved the students and I looked forward to everyday of work, even without getting paid! Once I had begun, I had no doubt I had made the right decision. However there was still the lingering worry about the future. I did not like not knowing where I would be in four months.
The stress was overwhelming. I would wake up with chest pains, talk in my sleep, and think about the future all day every day. I took out my anxiety with running. I lost ten pounds but the stress remained. There was nothing I could do but try everything I could to do my best and impress. I worked hard, I networked, and I pulled every string and tapped every connection I have. One of these connections is how I found out about a possible job opening at semester at another local high school in the same district.
I immediately applied, lined up references, and began emailing all the connections I had. I requested everyone put in good words for me, and I bombarded the HR department with emails, resumes, and references. Finally I was called for an interview first with HR, and then with the school. It was nerve racking. There were other outstanding candidates, all as worthy as I was. I waited as patiently as I could (which is not very) to hear back one way or another.
Until last Friday when I got the phone call. They loved me and wanted to bring me on board, beginning second semester, January 2, 2012. I literally hung up and teared up in relief, excitement, and gratitude. This is what I had worked so hard for. This is why I spend so many hours a week working, saving, studying, and worrying. I had done it. I had made it happen. I had changed my career, and my life.
I am so thankful that I was raised to have such confidence in my ability to achieve what I set out to do. I am so thankful that I have such an amazing and supportive husband who was willing and able to support me while I quit work to pursue my dream. I am so thankful to have a job offer at the closest school to my house, beginning in the middle of a school year (this is rare people!). We did it all without any student loans, and we didn’t lose our house… so that’s a plus. :) In fact, we have extra money left over from all of our saving!
I finish up student teaching this week, and then get to enjoy a lovely three-week vacation before beginning my new job in the new year. I did it! I’m a teacher!!