If you're not into reading me not-so-subtly brag about my accomplishments, then you should skip ahead. This is not the post for you.
In 2014, I decided I was too burnt out on Social Work, that I could not imagine myself doing that work day in and day out for the rest of my career (and that's not to say I don't love the profession, because I do and I use those skills everyday). When I first started college, I jokingly told my mom that if I didn't get accepted into the Social Work program, I was going to drop out of Radford and go to library school elsewhere. I ended up getting into and completing the program, but the summer of my senior year I decided that maybe I should make that random dream into a reality.
I applied to four schools - two in NYC, University of Washington, and University of Denver. I had been to Colorado before, and we knew people in the area. I went to Seattle to visit close family friends and toured UW. And I have family in NYC, too. I absolutely loved UW and the thought of living in Seattle, but when the time came, they waitlisted me.
I was so devastated when that happened, but it all ended up working out. I got an incredibly generous scholarship from DU and (on my birthday in 2015), Logan got a job out in Denver! It was decided - we were moving across the country.
On July 14, 2015 we packed up all of our belongings and started driving. Logan and I both cried as we pulled out of his driveway, and I think we were more scared than excited. We lived out of hotel room for a week once we arrived, but that motivated us to get an apartment so much faster.
I had a few job interviews once we got out here, and ended up taking a position with Bright Horizons as a substitute teacher. I started out full time, which was great for my bank account, but not so great for my sanity. Two weeks after starting the job, school started and I had to figure out how to balance a full time job, a full time course load, and a relationship (Logan and I had never lived together before). There was a huge learning curve, but eventually I figured it out. Work, class, dinner, homework. Work, class, dinner, homework. Repeat for infinity.
I made it through my first year of school with limited breakdowns and all A's. As summer rolled around, I switched from full-time to part-time at the daycare so that I could look for library work. Miraculously, the first job I interviewed for I got, and then I was working two jobs. Again, a huge learning curve in managing work schedules, class schedules, time to do homework, time to breathe; but I got it figured out somewhat - mostly I felt like I was drowning.
In the fall of 2016 I took on another position at the library. Still manageable, plus it meant I was getting to spend more time in the library, which was my end goal anyways. But, at the beginning of 2017 I took on two internships. Which, if you're counting, brings the total to three jobs, (yes I count it as three even though two were at the same place - I had different bosses and different methods of scheduling and way different tasks), two internships, AND 18 graduate-level credits. This brought that drowning feeling to an all time high and I cried on my commute from work to school multiple times. Not to mention, with those internships I was working less hours and getting significantly smaller paychecks - shout out to Logan for never complaining when we had pasta five nights a week and cereal the other two.
Spring of this year I got it all together. I was only taking 6 credits, doing zero internships, and I felt like I was flying (the transition from drowning to flying came in the form in a strangely long spring break, thanks DU). By the time graduation rolled around, it didn't feel real. It didn't feel like I had spent the last two years up till 3 am working on homework, writing papers, doing a ridiculous number of group projects, and generally becoming a librarian.
When it was my turn to walk across the stage, I was holding back tears. The hardest part of my life was finally coming to an end and I was so damn proud of myself. It was all going to be worth it - the tears, the long days, the nights where Logan would be in bed before I even got home, it was all finally going to be worth it.
It's been almost 3 weeks and it still doesn't feel like it's over (especially since one of the jobs I recently applied for required an ESSAY). I keep feeling like I'm going to get a phone call saying someone messed up. But, it is real. I did finish my master's degree before age 24. I did live through some of the most stressful times of my life. And, I am finally a librarian.
Special shoutout to these two girls (and Kerena, who graduated in the spring and LEFT US) - I literally could not have done this without you two. Thank you, thank you, thank you.