A year ago, I was settling into teaching, I bought a washer and dryer, I I read a lot of books, and I worked a lot. It wasn’t a super exciting time, but it was good. I learned a lot.
What I Learned: September 2016
- When you are an adult and you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, you don’t get to just show up. You’re supposed to offer to bring something – salad, dessert, wine, etc. People invite college students over for free food but you are not in college anymore. You get to at least offer to contribute.
- A leader who is kind of annoying is a better leader than one who isn’t there – because presence (and subsequently, support) has more value than personality – at least in the context of leadership.
- If you don’t want to have clutter, have lots of trash cans. It seems simple but it’s revolutionary when put into place!
- There may (and most likely will) come a time in your life when you have to say goodbye to Camp – this time will of course be sad but you will not die. I learned this when visiting an old Camp friend who teaches in my district now – he spoke affectionately of Camp but he was okay with his life now. That was good for me to observe.
- Parking under a tree on a hot day is very wise – even if said tree isn’t the closest parking space. It’s an investment in later sanity.
6. Things you can’t talk about with a 12-year-old: gas prices
7. If you are more committed to USC football than you are to your marriage, you have a problem. Actually, you have two problems.
Every Friday is Solid Orange Friday
Facetimes with my father
I didn’t even ask this student to write this!
Last August was a mix of old and new. Old friends got married and I got to see them and spend time with their families, but then there was the new – settling into a new town, a new job, a new church. I had an income and a classroom and a job. I had just finished Camp and was mentally processing the summer while preparing my classroom. It was busy and exciting and scary and big. My brain was constantly abuzz with thoughts and learnings and ideas.
What I Learned: August 2016
- Liking kids and being good with kids are not the same thing. Some people are one, some are both. Sometimes you can become the other if you are only one. But they do not necessarily come together. It’s unfortunate and not a lot of people know it.
- Teaching is not Camp in lots of ways, and one of these is that a session is nine months, not one week. So not sleeping for a whole week is not a great way to do things because there are 35 weeks to go after this one.
- People romanticize the past – more than just old people saying, “when I was young…” but young people, too. All people think fondly on things that are over, and tend to think back on things as easier or more fun than they truly were. Things are generally harder in the moment than they will seem when we’re looking back on them, and when we’re looking back, they’ll seem breezier than they feel now.
- Be at an event in enough time that you are sitting and ready when it starts (example: church and professional development), not pulling into the parking lot at the exact time it starts. It really is better to be an early dork than a late dork.
- It takes more time to leave a happy place than it does to get there. The trip home always goes by quickly because I’m so excited, but leaving is a drag and seems like it takes forever.
6. Being grumpy is not an excuse to do whatever you want (one would think that this is something I would have already known by now, but nope, something I learned one year ago this month).
Most of July of last year was spent at Camp. I was (and still am) learning how to lead, which was hard. Then, the day after Camp ended, I moved to a new town and all new things – job, apartment, roommate, church, etc. July was a very overwhelming and very exciting month.
This is what I learned through all of it –
- Sometime patience and persistence are the same thing.
- You don’t have to be good at everything, but you do have to give things a chance. Try new things. Do hard things.
- If you see or are a part of something that’s wrong and don’t speak up, then what you are communicating is: “everything happening here is completely okay with me and approved by me.”
- Sometimes you see another person’s sin and you are appalled at that person’s capacity to hurt people or ruin things or be a sinner. You need to know that you also have that same capacity and are no better. All humans are inherently awful.
- Don’t weave your whining and complaining into conversations. If you’ve got to say it, just say it, and then be done with it.
6. Excuses don’t last long. You can only say, “I moved here yesterday” for one day.
June 2016 was a new time. I was starting in a new role at Camp, and that was hard. I was learning to be a leader. I was also transitioning from college student to whatever comes next, which was harder than I anticipated. I was in some weddings for friends, which was so fun. June 2016 was the busiest I had been in a long time.
Here is what I learned during that time –
- “Leading means relinquishing the right to being told what to do.” – this is from my wise Camp boss, and it was good and hard for me to learn.
- If you are grumpy or in “a mood,” either talk about it or get over it. Being elusively grumpy is dumb and annoying and unproductive.
- You cannot control humans.
- But you can influence them.
- It’s hard to lead people if you don’t love them.
6. When you are sleeping somewhere with no AC, end your shower with cold water. You will start sweating again as you exit the shower.
7. If shoes are less than comfortable when you try them on, they will be painful when you wear them for an entire day.
Camp friends are the best friends!
pre wedding selfie!
Supervisors and glasses!
One year ago now, I was working in the office at Camp, in limbo between graduation and Camp starting for the summer. Earlier in May, I went to visit my Clemson friends and Clemson babies in Pennsylvania, turned 22, moved out of the apartment I’d lived in for 3 years of college, bought a car to call my very own, and I had my first jury duty, which felt kind of grown-up, but at the same time, like a drag.
It was a rare time because I wasn’t in college anymore but my next thing hadn’t started yet but also I was super busy – working, driving, packing, cleaning, etc. I was reflecting on what had just finished as well as thinking apprehensively of what was stirring under my feet – the changes to the things that I knew and the new things that were coming.
What I Learned: May 2016
- After you turn 21, no one really cares how old you are.
- Your family is your neighbor, too, not just the people “out there.” Serve the people “in here” as well as others outside.
- Buying a car is less climactic than it sounds – yes, you’re getting this new shiny thing, but also you’re spending like all your money on it and now you are under lots of pressure to never mess it up. Going out for pizza to celebrate just means you spend more money, which, after buying a car, you never want to do again.
- Maturity is not a lack of impulses to sin or to give in to desires, but a change in response to the same impulses and a better foundation with which to deny them. And also a humility that knows you won’t be perfect at it ever while a human.
- Your job really starts not on your first day, but when you interview for it.
- The less recent an event, the less relevant it can be. Sometimes, time is like forgiveness.
7. Once you go Subaru, you never go back.
8. Take a book to jury duty, because sometimes you spend 2.5 business days just sitting in a room waiting to see if you’re going to get picked (and then you don’t).
Look at this baby!
Not actually a baby anymore
Special Ed Class of 16!
my best pal, Stokes
April of last year was a blur. I finished student teaching and emotionally started to prepare to be finished with college forever. I got a job offer (for the job that I now have!).
As I was reading through what I learned during this month, it seemed like I wrote them down just the other day. I had to check to make sure they were really written down a whole year ago, and they were – so this just goes to further show how true #5 is.
What I Learned: April 2016
- Domestic isn’t a relational adjective.
- This was a hard thing to learn. A boy told me like a year prior to this that he and “all the guys” had been talking and they’d decided that I would make a great wife someday. I was a little flattered and a little creeped out, and then I started to put this pressure on myself to be married so that I could be this “great wife.” But what I learned was that the qualities that can be found in a wife can be useful in more than just marriage. And I was reminded that boys are weird.
- God must be glorified in all things, not just the things He gives you once you’re settled down and ready for them, or the things that you wanted or asked for. He must be glorified even when you just want to huff at Him impatiently, like when you are waiting for a job but don’t have one yet.
- Leave early for job interviews. It’s better to sit in a gas station across the street for 50 minutes before it starts than to roll in late. And, it’s better for the interviewers to be running late than you.
- If you use/engage it, it will get stronger. This is true for your pinkie finger, imagination, sinful impulses/temptations, writing, among many more things.
- A year is not nearly as long as childhood left you believing it is.
6. Follow grandmother advice. Don’t touch door handles after you wash your hands.
7. Don’t underestimate the efficacy and value of a nice white shirt. It can go a long way.
The love of my life
all the girls at Brioso
March of 2016 held m full takeover for student teaching and the Clemson job fair and spring break! It was busy and exhilarating, which is how I like life to be. My family took a spring break trip together to New York which was the grandest of adventures.
What I Learned: March 2016
1. The best way to get better at something is by doing it – running, writing, teaching, etc. Studying and preparing is good, but really the best way is to jump in and do the thing.
2. Treat your kids like people – not like grown-ups, but like people. When you’re wrong, apologize to them and actually use the words: “I’m sorry,” because that’s how you should apologize to all people.
3. It’s more ideal to be a little under-hydrated and get quality sleep than to be quite hydrated but be getting up to pee all night long.
4. Logistics are supremely underrated. Getting places and talking to people you don’t know and planning things is hard and does not happen easily or naturally. Things very rarely fall into place.
5. The most glamorous part of teaching is not actually teaching – it’s talking about it. I felt so accomplished and professional while I was applying and interviewing for jobs because I got to use teaching jargon and talk about all the things I was doing well – but once I got back to school, I felt like a civil servant again. Analyzing it makes it seem exciting and considerate, but doing it feels hectic and creative and exhausting.
6. It’s not really possible to eat a cheese stick gracefully. That’s okay.
7. As the week goes on, it gets harder and harder to get 8 hours of sleep at night. There’s too much to do and no free time so less sleep happens.
My mommy + sunshine + Central Park
Because I am a boss, obviously.