Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Islands are Lucky and so am I

Ok, so I got back from two weeks in Hawaii a couple of days ago, and I have all kinds of stories to tell you about that! But not in this post. No, in this post we're going to talk about the time that I got a miracle. (In no less than 1200 words OMG I'M SORRY.)

So I may or may not have mentioned (once or twice a minute all summer) that I was recently in graduate school. Since the very start of my program I knew I wanted to work on the college level. I did several things to make this happen, including adding a career counseling certificate to my course load, and diligently working to set up college internships. Initially I was planning on doing my first internship in the fall, but at the last minute, it fell through, and I instead ended up interning at a local middle school, the very middle school I once attended myself, and the very institution where I set my most impressive Oregon Trail score. (Trailblazer!) Next I planned an internship for the winter quarter, but again the placement fell through. Frustrated, I turned to my advisers, who assured me they would help me look for a place to do my final set of hours. I ended up working at a nearby high school, which ended up being probably my all time favorite work environment, so fantastic was the counseling team.

During this quarter, I saw a couple of college counseling jobs openings. I optimistically set about applying for these positions. I asked one of my professors for a letter of recommendation, and she agreed. When I went to pick the letter up, she sat me down and said: "I'm going to give you the letters, because it's you, but I need you to know that you're not getting these jobs." I assured her that I knew these were long shots, but that I had to try, no harm in trying, haha, and there's always a chance! "No. There really isn't a chance. I just don't want you to get your hopes up...It's just that it's pretty much impossible to get a college job unless you have connections to that school." Ok. That was a little discouraging, but honestly, nothing I didn't already know. I once again told her I knew the realities, and knew that in all likelihood I would be working at a high school come fall. "Oh no, there are no high school jobs. You aren't going to get a counseling job next year." Well sure it's a little bleak right now, but there's always hope..."Not really." Oh. Ok. "I mean, you haven't even done a college internship." I stared at her for a moment, wondering if perhaps she had forgotten that she had promised to help set one up for me. When I reminded her of that fact, she nodded her head, but then kind of dismissed it as pointless anyway. The honest truth is, Debbie Downer though she may have been, she was trying to help me. Trying to help me not become depressed by a fruitless job search later. By helping me to become depressed before the fruitless job search. Mission. Accomplished.

I was feeling very discouraged. I wondered what the point of the past two years had been if there was no job to show for it. And then a third internship fell through, and I began to wonder if she might be right, and I should just go apply at Walmart. I just might have, but truth be told I was feeling just the tiniest bit indignant with my professor, for telling me not to even have hope. Who was she to dictate what my future would be? Was she clairvoyant? And I began to feel ever so slightly stubborn about the whole thing. One morning I got the idea to just call every college career center within a fifty mile radius, community, cal state, private, ANYONE, and just see if I could find an internship by sheer force of will.

I called three. Two community colleges, and one small, rather prestigious college, which I contacted in a fit of "why not?!" and was turned down by all three. And by then I lost interest, because I don't actually like making phone calls and frankly it was a miracle that I made the ones that I did. I went back to feeling discouraged.

And then a funny thing happened, The Small Prestigious School called me back. It was their office manager, telling me that while they didn't usually accept interns, they were thinking about opening a position for a part time Career Counselor in the fall, and if I liked, I could send her my resume, and she would hold on to it.


That's how I felt. We stayed in contact, emailing back and forth over the months, keeping in touch about the status of the tenuous job posting. She emailed me the day the job was flown, and I applied that morning, which happened to be the morning I left for Catalina. We almost missed the ferry, but I was too scared that the job would be closed by the time I got back, and there was no internet on the island.

A month passed. No word. About this time I was agonizing about whether or not to go to Hawaii, when there was the possibility of missing out on interviews, and also, who goes on tropical vacations when they're unemployed? (Spoiler, I DO!) But the generosity of my mother, and my spirit of adventure got the better of me, and I booked my tickets. And right after that I found out that interviews would be the week of my Hawaiian vacation. I probably should have cancelled, but the ticket was already booked! And I didn't even know if I was going to GET an interview! So I kept my trip as planned, and as the weeks went by, and still I heard nothing, I figured I probably wasn't going to get an interview.

Irresponsible planning? Maybe. But God loves me, and went ahead and had them offer me an interview for the morning I was scheduled to leave. (I think that it is nice symmetry that I applied for the job the day I left for Catalina, and interviewed for the same job the day I left for Oahu. I should go to islands more often!)

Hooboy, what an interview it was. The whole thing lasted an hour and a half, I met with two different panels and an HR rep, for a total of seven people. I felt really good about the interview, I had strong answers to their questions, felt good connections to the people I spoke with, it was a great experience. Still, it was no guarantee, and I honestly had no idea whether or not I would get that job. But I felt very peaceful about the whole thing. I knew that I had done my best, and that what was meant to be was meant to be.

So I went to Hawaii! And I had a blast. And on the Thursday of my second week there, as I stood on a beach in Maui...I got. the. job.


YOU GUYS I WAS HOLDING A SNORKEL!!! It was just one of the best moments ever. And look, maybe it was just a series of coincidences that led me to this job, but I don't think so. I believe that those internships fell through for a reason, and that I was inspired to make that phone call that day. Why of all the schools to call, did I call that one? A school I had had ZERO contact with. This job is a dream come true, and it truly feels like it was tailor made for me. I feel blessed, and I feel lucky, and I feel so, SO incredibly grateful. I start August 16, and I actually can't wait.