Yesterday I graduated from graduate school. That is a weird sentence to type, 1. because the word “graduate” is in it twice, 2. because I sort of can’t believe I have a master’s degree. (I still have to finish the final paperwork to get my official license to work as a guidance counselor and my degree won’t be “conferred” for a few weeks.) but for all intents and purposes I have a degree.
The journey to this degree and this career path started during the relative “death” of a past dream. I was living in Seattle for a summer following my kind of half baked dream of being a drama teacher. I have said it before and I will say it again: that summer in Seattle was one of the best things to happen to me in my adult life. It forced me to look at things in a different way and I learned a lot, namely:
1. Drama teachers get paid literal peanuts in this country unless you’re very lucky and get a job in a public school.
2. I like earning money more than I like helping kids make art. Sucks to type, hard to swallow, but a truth about myself I have had to accept. I like things, have real estate dreams, want to travel, and I like the security that comes from a steady and fruitful income.
3. Never date a man who will interrupt you and condescendingly call you “sweetheart” while trying to argue his point. This type of man can be hard to avoid because while you’re falling in love with him this will somehow seem sweet. Once you’re out of love and talking on the phone to him underneath in a bridge while walking through a Seattle evening this type of behavior will bring upon you a kind of rage that makes the edges of your vision red and fuzzy.
4. Giving up can be much harder than agreeing to try in the first place. I can’t put into words the kind of shame I felt when I decided being a drama teacher wasn’t going to be a part of my life plan. I was embarrassed to have been naive about what job prospects would actually be. I was horrified that I didn’t actually even like it that much. These are hard things to admit to others and even harder to admit to yourself. In the end I’m glad I took a chance and tried, because I never would have known.
5. Strawberries and cherries taste much better on the West Coast.
6. Living by yourself can be isolating but it can also be so amazingly cleansing. As much as having roommates can be fun there is something so good for the soul about being the complete master of your domain. May you all be financially stable enough to try it someday.
Anyway, the picture above is of my bedroom in my Seattle sublet. That is where I laid on bed (which was some sort of off brand tempurpedic and made my body feel like a old man) and researched guidance counseling master’s programs for the first time.
The Guidance Counselor Plan was hatched from the same humble beginnings as the Drama Teacher Plan. I would say it was a little more thought out; I had thoroughly researched the job market and while it can be difficult to land a job, it is not impossible, not to mention guidance counselors are a vital part of a school community and are usually paid accordingly. There was potential for stability, for growth, a little creativity, and to help kids. All things that appealed to me.
I’m happy to say that this time I entered the internship and almost immediately felt like I had indeed followed the right path this time.
And now: without further ado, here are some pics from graduation day.
All in all a pretty awesome day. No, it doesn’t feel “real” yet, and I don’t feel any different other than a lurking panic in my stomach over student loans, BUT HEY QUE SERA SERA, where is the champagne?