(Photo credit to the lovely and talented Laurel Guild)
I’m baaaaaack. I seriously cannot believe I took an entire semester off, but I have been so busy and so much has happened in that time, but first and most importantly: I HAVE A MASTERS DEGREE!!!! This semester has been so mentally and physically draining (though I can actually say that about the last two years because this degree has sucked the life out of me), and I am so glad to just be done. While I’m still flirting with the idea of going to PT school, I’m definitely looking forward to a few years of no studying, no textbook readings, and no research papers. Considering I just turned in my 42 page Capstone Research Paper, I could definitely use a break. I am still a little apprehensive about no longer being able to identify as a student, but I know I can always go back when I’m ready and if I so desire. Onward and upward, as the saying goes.
In eight days, I will no longer be an athletic trainer at Moore High School, because unfortunately graduate assistantships cannot last forever. My first job has tested in me in ways I never could have imagined, but those challenges have led to more growth than I thought I was capable of achieving. There have been days when I absolutely hated my job, but those are vastly outnumbered by the days I have been completely in love with it. My kids have taught me so much, both personally and professionally, and I can’t believe my time at Moore is almost finished. As much as I want just two more years at Moore so I can see my first group of freshmen graduate, I am so excited to be able to start some new adventures, and I’m confident those freshmen will continue to flourish in my absence. Heading into my last week of work, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and love for every door that has been opened for me and every event that has led me to this point in time.
So what’s next for me? I don’t know exactly. Right now, I’ve got a lead on a job in northwest Indiana, which is almost twelve hours away from home. I’m terrified to move so far away, but it’d be a great story to tell one day. It helps knowing TJ will be moving with me, because I still need someone to hold my hand when things get scary, and there’s no one with whom I would rather jump off a cliff. There are some jobs closer to home that I’m eagerly waiting to hear about, and I’m excited to continue my career as an athletic trainer, which is something I don’t think I could have said in January. More than anything, I’m excited to see where the universe guides me. I’ve always ended up exactly where I needed to be, even if it wasn’t where I thought I wanted to be, and I have faith that wherever I land this time around, I’ll once again be right where I need to be.
As this season in my life changes, I’m experiencing a wellspring of emotion. I feel so accomplished, because I earned a masters degree, I survived the last two years, and my relationships are thriving, There’s this sense of discord, though, because I have literally no idea what I’ll be doing in August (or June, or July, or whenever my imaginary job begins–the joys of athletic training is that there’s no uniform start date so I don’t even know if I should be worried yet, but of course I am because anxiety). I’m finishing the longest chapter of my life–the student chapter–with seemingly no plan to ever continue it. I don’t know what I’m doing, which is nothing new, but is nevertheless terrifying. Of course my anxiety is sky high, because I only had a two-year plan, and guess what: it’s just about over, and the future is still the vast, swirling abyss that it’s always been. I’m excited about that, though, because I have so many options. Literally the entire world is waiting for me, and I just have to pick which cliff I want to jump off.
Overall, though, I feel this overwhelming sense of closure in my life right now, like I’m on the final pages of a really good book and I can finally see how all the loose strings are tying together. I have been living the dream for the past two years, and even though there were times I thought I wouldn’t survive it–or that I was living the wrong dream–I can see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. I’m proud of myself, and that’s a feeling I want to continue experiencing.
I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to do it with the same ravenous vigor that I have done everything up to this point. I am so thankful for the myriad of opportunities that lie ahead, and I can’t wait to conquer my world–whatever that means. Onward and upward, as the saying goes.