Embracing Ambiguity

How many times have you been asked that interview question, “How do you handle ambiguity?” At this point in my life, I feel as though I nearly qualify as a seasoned pro.

It’s not been easy. For the part of me that loves to plan, ambiguity drives me nuts. I’ve had to remain hopeful yet detached from multiple professional and life opportunities as they fall mere inches from my lap.


For example, three days after returning from Greece I had an on-campus final round interview at an institution in the southeast. The interview was extensive but I felt it went very well, and while I had some minute reservations about the location and the work, I couldn’t help but be excited about the potential opportunity and professional challenge. A couple of weeks later I learned that the job was not meant to be.

Gili Air Hayley Sarah

In late February, I interviewed for yet another role. This one was practically my dream job. I decided that while I waited two weeks to learn my fate, I would head back to Hawaii. I hadn’t been back to visit since I moved away, and following some emotional turbulence arising from the unexpected and clunky end of my previous relationship, I had mixed emotions about the place I formerly adored.

So here I am in Hawaii, where I have resumed work as a sea kayak guide and patiently waited to learn where my work in international higher education administration will next lead me. Meanwhile, I have also rekindled my feelings of love for this island and even more so for the community of people that I am lucky to be surrounded by.

Hayley Sarah Blog

As I continue to sort out my plans for the remaining 2/3 of 2019 (which I have just recently done and am excited to share!) I am grateful for the ambiguity that keeps me on my toes. Because although it lacks the comfort of knowingness, it also provides me with a sense of adventure, opportunity for growth, and a lifestyle that ignites my passion.


I am excited to say that I will be returning to so many of the places I love for the remainder of this year including Knoxville, Boston, Charlottesville, and Thessaloniki, Greece! I am returning both to Northeastern University’s Program where I will facilitate a study abroad program in Greece, and to Charlottesville, VA where I will work with visiting students from China at the University of Virginia. And in between the two, I’ll be playing in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and teaching guests from around the world about ocean sports and the ecology of Hawaii!

Embracing Ambiguity

Back in March after returning to Hawaii and swimming in both these beautiful waters and ambiguity alike, my dad sent me a quote that reminded him of me.


Ambiguity provides me hope of unlimited and endless possibilities. Life has been keepin’ me on my toes lately. And while ambiguity isn’t always the most convenient, I’m choosing to embrace it. As many things in life are a double-edged sword, the key for me is gratitude through it all.

One thought on “Embracing Ambiguity

  1. What a beautiful and nuanced blog post regarding ambiguity, Niece Hayley! Well done and perceptive. It sounds as if you’ll have an interesting and busy schedule, as always. The best is yet to come! I look forward to seeing you soon.


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