I graduated college with the intention of working with teenage girls. This led me to a graduate program in Memphis that offered me a 75% discount on tuition based on my grades (and let’s be honest – my family connections probably helped since my grandmother worked in the library at this graduate school for 26 years and my mom worked there for 2). During my second semester in the spring of 2009, one of the professors talked me through the number of years I had between current day and when I would actually be practicing what I wanted to do. And I realized that 6 years was too many to wait. I wanted to be working with teens now.
Us taking our daily evening stroll around the grad school campus in 2008. We were so young!
But I was worried. Oh how I worried. I worried that I would disappoint my family by being a drop out (spoiler alert: they were super supportive and I had nothing to worry about). I’d never quit anything in my life and I hated the idea of quitting. Even though my grades were great and I was excelling in my classes, I felt like I was failing by not finishing out the program. But thankfully I had a supportive husband who walked me through the process. He encouraged me to not worry so much about finding “the perfect job” working with teens, but to instead start volunteering with teenagers. Who says you have to be paid to do what you’re passionate about? It was the best advice ever. After three semesters, I quit graduate school in 2009.
My sister, Abby, visiting me at the library on campus where I worked in 2008 (the same library where my grandmother & mom worked!)
You might find it odd since I ended up dropping out, but I am so grateful that I went to graduate school for that year. When we graduated college we were looking at Florida, Colorado, and Tennessee as possible places to move. When I was offered that awesome scholarship, our decision was made easily. We would go to Memphis for me to attend graduate school and then after I graduated, we’d move somewhere else. Well, what do you know, I quit after a year and already we had found a home here in Memphis. I don’t know that we’ll always stay here (our hearts are really pulled to both mission work and the beach), but I know that for the past nearly 8 years, Memphis has been home. And I’m so glad that graduate school brought us here. 🙂
Dinner with friends in the courtyard on campus in 2008
We also had a lot of fun while I was in grad school. We lived on campus which meant that we lived in close proximity to all our new friends. We were always together all the time which was just really wonderful. Oh, and I was on the Student Association Counsel because I’m totally that girl. Which meant that I was part of making a couple of promotional videos for our school. I know you want to see them. My favorite one is absolutely the Popcorn Day one. I’m wearing a purple shirt with a white scarf. You can see it here:
And if that isn’t enough for you, you can also see this video where my acting skillz are really put to use (near the end of the first minute). Why I’m sharing proof of my lack of acting talent with you guys, I really don’t know. Other than that they strike me as funny. So enjoy. 😉
Recently I ran across those videos again and it had me thinking about how grateful I am that graduate school brought us to Memphis. And how grateful I am that I had the courage to quit after the first year even though I was so worried about what people would think and about what I would do with my life. Immediately after quitting graduate school in 2009, I began volunteering with a group of 7th grade girls. Those girls graduated high school last year and despite all my protesting that I’m too old for this, I find myself still mentoring teen girls (just a different group now). I am so very grateful for the way it all worked out. I volunteer for a couple of other organizations, nanny part time for two of the best kids ever, and have a full time photography business. Life is so much better than I could have predicted.
How did you end up in the city where you currently live?
Have you ever quit anything?
Do you use your college degree (either by work or volunteer work)?