The Future Is but a Question Mark

On the way home from picking up groceries after pilates class tonight, the song "Bring on the Night" (The Police) came on the radio. That's where the title of this post comes from, because it had me thinking. Well, thinking more about what's been on my mind a lot as of late.

When I applied to grad school, one of the major factors was that I had nothing to lose. In the year leading up that I'd suffered the worst heartbreak of my life, serious loss of friendships as lines were drawn and tales were told, my brother's second (!) illegitmate pregnancy with his girlfriend/not-girlfriend (now wife, thank God), a virtual eviction by my roommate (more tales told), the violation of a supposed friend helping me then taking up with the Ex (and further loss of friendships with more lines drawn). Seriously, I said many times I was going to move to a cave in Indiana and change my name. In addition to the personal/family grief, I had a genuine lack of a sense of fulfillment with my job and no prospects of advancement. In the back of my mind for years had been this desire to teach but not in the pure sense of standing up in front of classrooms. Yet, when I spent the day with my (now) mentor in April 2006, the school library environment just felt right to me.

I didn't know how going back to school after almost ten years would work, or how I was going to pay for it. I put down a bunch of intentions for a novena to St. Rita and prayed my heart out. Her feast day is May 22, and the novena (nine days of prayer) starts so that the ninth day ends on her feast day. One of the intentions was that if I was meant to go to school, there would be a way to pay for it. In June, I received a fellowship that helped with a significant portion of tuition. I also got promoted right as school started--twice in the span of six weeks--so I got two raises. (I checked off nearly every intention answered--culminating in my brother's wedding in November 2007. The unanswered ones, I guess, are "no" or "not now" ones, and they were minor favors.)

Now, I'm staring down graduation in December. Before I get to that point, I have a class to complete in the fall, where I will observe and most likely also will teach in a couple of schools. I'm working on my application right now, and I'm struggling with my introductory letter. I think it's a mental block.

On Saturday my mom came over to help me do some more unpacking. When she was finished, she hit me with a barrage of questions about what's to come. She has this relentless style of hammering people with questions. They were almost all valid--just asked so rapid-fire that you feel they're all urgent and must be answered right now. I already was having a blood sugar crash, and the questioning overwhelmed me and made me burst into tears. Do you really have to be at school all day? Well, even if you're done at three can't you go into the office and do your work? Your father and I said we'd help you but we can't do it for very long--will a school hire you in January?

She seems to have this bizarrely optimistic idea that my work will be perfectly supportive of my taking twelve weeks off to do my last class. And, you know, let me work off-hours and pay me. When the class is done and I'm, I don't know, looking for a new job in my new field, they'll let me come back and keep working for them. I don't think so. She also thinks that one of the schools I visit could hire me on the spot and/or create a position for me. I don't see how that's possible. Schools have to get even more approvals than companies do before they make a move like that.

I am so angry with myself for not thinking this through and finding out all the program entailed. I had no idea there would be a course requiring me to do a field study, let alone one that lasted twelve weeks. But here I am. I blew through the program because the fellowship had me taking three courses a quarter. (I currently have just under a 3.9 GPA.) It wasn't until last Thanksgiving that I found out that I had to do this--take this course by itself--and there really isn't much getting around it.

I'm torn. I really want to finish the program as soon as possible--I feel as if the real estate downturn has affected my company so work feels worse than ever--but is it really practical from a financial standpoint for me to do this right now? Am I better off waiting until the spring? Would a part time job help?

I've tried talking it over with my school advisors for the past year--what do people do when they take this course? Their answers: Some take out personal loans. (I have enough loans as it is.) Others have spouses supporting them (not this Maiden Aunt!) or have moved home (not feasible). Actually, I recently got a new advisor--for the third time--and I think I'm going to try the old questions with her and see where they get me. But at the moment, I'm feeling really confused and down. The novena starts next week and at this point I'm not even sure I have a prayer. . . but they also said St. Rita would never see her dreams fulfilled, either--the convent didn't want to take a older woman whose husband had been murdered and sons had dropped dead before they could carry out the traditional revenge--but it happened. So at the very least I can ask her to put in a good word for me. I've gotten this far, and deep down I just know I can get to the end, but when all the questions are hitting me, the light at the end of the tunnel gets rather dim.

And I'm still feeling compelled to finish this introductory letter and get my application in. Now.


Mr. Bingley said…
Well, it seems to me that most schools do their hiring in the Spring, so it would behoove you to stick to your original plan and get it done by December.
Ashley said…

This sounds sticky. My husband and I will BOTH be in this boat in a year or two with internships. Ugh.

Prayer gets us through tough times. You are seeking your vocation, so God will be faithful. (At least that's what I tell myself. :))
Lizzie said…
Sounds like you've made it through quite a bit to get where you are already - what do "they" say? God sends the most trials to those with the strongest faith? Something like that? Finishing in December sounds wise (most hiring is done by June for schools)...

You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don't get too overwhelmed.
Amy Giglio said…
You know, you can start that novena early.

I think Lizzie's right. God will make this work for you (not necessarily without some pain) if this is what He wants for you right now.

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