Some things about me:
In the past, the “aha” moment in decision making has always come easily.|I continually feel the need to achieve and to grow and to learn. |At the age of 20 I fell in love with travel.|I have always wanted a career. |But, I have struggled with the idea of spending my youth counting down the 52 weeks of the year until I get another glimpse of the world.
That led me to do things a little differently. Following graduation, I made the easy decision to move out west to work and gain life experience while living in a tent. The choice to substitute teach in the time surrounding my three month trip to South America was simple and fulfilling, and the opportunity to trek to Everest Base Camp after teaching a reading unit on “Into Thin Air” felt like fate. A job offer in Hawaii was my dream quickly turned into reality. I was confident in these decisions as each of these opportunities felt like the one right path. I knew exactly where I wanted to be and what was needed to get there.
These last couple of months, however, have been a struggle. This winter I have been waiting for that “aha” moment – that moment where your path is suddenly made clear and you know exactly what you want to do and how you need to get there.
Recently, I have learned that the “aha moment” may not come easily, at the time that we expect it or wish for it, or even at all. There may not always be a single overwhelmingly right choice, but instead a plethora of options all taking you to seemingly different destinations. And sometimes the path that we think is ours isn’t really our path at all. This is new for me. And it is scary, because it feels as though a single choice we make might just determine everything.
This winter season I focused on working towards a career in International Higher Education. Why international higher education? Because it is at the core of understanding and mutual respect in today’s globally intertwined world. International education fosters peace and security as well as the opportunity to discover and accept new perspectives and to alter world views. My dream is to facilitate international higher education, to promote and foster it, and to work with the individuals and students who are seeking or who have sought out these international experiences. From my own experience, my semester abroad opened my eyes to a much bigger world. My time in Australia allowed me to inquire about and to accept new ideas. It gave me the confidence and competence to seek more out of life and to look at the global picture.
This winter I started the graduate school application process. After years of applying on and off to various international higher education positions, I decided to pursue further education to reach my professional goals. I became a regular at Starbucks first studying intensely for the GRE and then writing statement of purpose after statement of purpose. After a roller-coaster of a ride – being denied acceptance to my preconceived first choice, driving a sum of 24 hours around the southeastern United States to attend assistantship interviews – I found my fit.
I am thrilled to be attending the University of Virginia this summer and to work towards my Master of Education in Higher Education. At the University of Virginia, I am ecstatic to be the Resident Manager of the International Center and to hold an internship in the Office of International, Summer, and Special Academic Programs.
Change is exciting, but when decision making and change are scary, it is comforting to know that we can go back. No one decision will fix you in a permanent, unchangeable situation and no one decision will alter every little last thing in your world as you know it. Here’s to the next chapter!