Living in DC and attending American University (AU) was like living in a bubble. A world where you were surrounded by motivated people willing to go for their biggest dreams! I loved it! I’m a big dreamer so this culture suited me just fine. AU offered me leadership positions through orientation coordinating, student leadership teams, honors capstone projects – I felt as though any dream I had could become a reality, and the best thing was that there was always someone on staff who truly believed in you. Ah I miss my AU staff buddies. Shout out to ISSS, Bender Library, SETH, Int’l Admissions and OCL!
A few months before graduation, the constant thoughts about my future began. What next great thing should I be a part of? Should I just get a job teaching in DC, or should I aim for some epic non-profit doing amazing things, or should I go teach English abroad, or should I move back home and see what I could do to improve the education system there, and the list goes on. AU pretty much taught me that life doesn’t have to follow a simple college to stable job format; anything is possible and I can make a difference.
Just to show that I’m not the only crazy person thinking all this stuff, I sat down in the AU quad chatting with a couple of my friends during my last week in DC and we had this exact conversation. Yes! This is the sort of conversation we have when we’re hanging out and relaxing haha. Always talking about the future and what projects we’re working on or thinking of doing. We sat there and thought about how AU is the reason why we’re so undecided about life. There are pros and cons to it. On one hand, we decided that we’re grateful to AU for opening our eyes and giving us the courage to go for what we want, creating our own paths. On the other hand, we thought of how simple life would be if we weren’t bursting with confidence and passion for our studies. aldkfjaoinvjak;va;ljfa;lk! — that’s how our brains felt thinking about all our options :)
In true AU/DC style, I didn’t take the easy road post-grad. I ended up switching coasts and looking for teaching jobs in an area where I don’t even have a teaching licence, and no education connections. I left a possible lead position job offer at a great school in DC to be an assistant teacher barely making any money but I’m not looking back! I’m ready to take on this year and I know it will be a rewarding one :) So excited to be in the real world and not following the safe path that was waiting for me in DC. I’m ready to be part of a new adventure.
Here’s where the problem lies so far. I’m beginning to realise that I miss the crazy go-getters of DC. I miss the dinner conversations about capstone projects, internships, non-profits, dreams, goals, study abroad chats, my international friends, philosophy, education. A world where you ask, “What are you up to these days?” and the person can speak passionately for hours on end about their goings-on and where they’re thinking of going after.
Yes, I’m quickly realising that I was living in a different world over there.
I know that I can find this here if I try, and I’m hoping to see evidence in it at my school once I begin teaching in mid-August. I’m looking forward to working alongside dynamic teachers who are willingly testing out new strategies. I can’t wait to have talks about dream jobs, the future. Where will I be? How can I get there?
Culture shock within the country. It’s possible.
There are pros and cons to both situations of course. Sometimes the go-getter culture can become a bit too chaotic and your brain begins to hurt because you can’t stop thinking about “the next thing”. But I think overall, I prefer the go-getters, the change-makers in this world. They’re moving and exciting! :) That’s why I actually love college Freshmen because they have no idea what’s in store for them but they’re hilariously excited about it haha so adorable.
Just to clarify, I’ve included DC in this culture description too because the AU culture is very much synonymous with living in DC. Even the high-schoolers I’m friends with in DC (Hi, Uyanga and Kamila!) can sit down with me and discuss their futures over a cup of coffee. They’re excited about life. They’re writing their blog, Girls with Names, and doing their best to find themselves. I’m so proud of them! :)
Like I said before, I know there are people like this all over the place, but I just haven’t seen it much as yet where I am now. I mean I honestly don’t see many people anyway so more people may help hehe. Oh well, once I become more mobile I’ll go out to find some folks to have some tea with and talk about life. I just wanna talk about life.
Pride and passion – two things AU gave me, or maybe AU strengthened in me…because let’s be honest, I’ve always been pretty proud and passionate about anything I set my mind to! :) just ask my family.
And for my AU buddies, you know I couldn’t let a month pass before I dedicated a post to AU! Always an Eagle!