Living an Impactful Life

13 - 1I had been feeling very stagnant in my life lately, and I wasn’t sure why. I am caught up on bills (excluding loans and my CC), my relationships are flourishing, I’m getting healthier, I’m working full-time, and all-in-all, my life seems to be coming together very nicely.

So I did a lot of reflection to try to find where this restlessness was coming from. Was it the lack of hw from taking a semester off? Was it from not travelling anywhere new recently? Were trying new things like rollerblading just not big enough to make things exciting? No. It was actually through a conversation with my coworker that I realized what it was: I am not leading what I personally consider an impactful life. She told me about a potential position opening up with a nonprofit she had previously worked at, and that she had told the manager about me. I asked more about the position and when she described the experience needed, I began explaining my heavy involvement in student leadership and internships and conferences and retreats and the theories I believed and the books I had read and the classes I had taken, and suddenly, I remembered what I love more than anything in the world. Making a difference through leadership development.

I know I know. It sounds lame to some people and try hard to others, but the time periods in my life that I have been most satisfied with is when I’ve felt like I’ve made a difference in the lives of others. I had a lot of trouble when I volunteered, really pinning down what my passion was. It wasn’t saving the environment, animal welfare, childhood hunger, although those are things that are very important to me. But passion is a special word. My view is that passion is a more misused word than love. Anything people like, they are “passionate” about. But when you are passionate about something you breathe it, it infects every aspect of your life; you even dream about it. And I dream about empowering others such that they can develop their own vision for making the world better…so I can help cause the ripples that will echo through time and through change. To tell people how good they are and of how much they really are capable.

And that is what had changed in my life, why I was feeling so restless and useless. Starting around August, I had not been involved in anything. I had not volunteered, kept up with journals, blogs, books, or even my mentors. I dropped everything to work and try to get to that American Dream with the dog and house and secure job. And although I thought I don’t hate my job and what I do, I realized that the following analogy was more appropriate:

As an instructional designer for my agency, I am able to use the tools that I will need to make an impactful change. I have been given the supplies and resources that I need to accomplish the goal of development; however, I am designing “how to do your job” courses. I don’t have the right blueprints. So no matter how great my access to resources is, I’m not going to be able to build what I want. I’m not going to be able to make the kind of change in the world that I want.

So what now?

13 - 1 (1)Now I start volunteering. I keep working toward financial freedom. I keep an ear out for potential nonprofit works. And I keep a hold on my passions so that I never feel this stagnant and useless and stale again.

Re-budgeting

So, I had my budget for the next five months set…or so I thought. I have really been going out of my mind trying to figure out what I’m going to do for the next few years. Virtually every single business school requires 2+ years of work experience (aside from the 2+2 program), or at least that much in “life experience” (whatever that means). So, what am I going to do? Well, I’ve decided that I’m not applying to graduate school. At all. I need a break. I need time to just work and have money and pay off my student loans. So, I have a real plan. And for once, it’s one that I am completely satisfied with. I am going to apply to do alternative teaching certification through an org. I’m going to take the Praxis II for math (I test out of the first automatically with my ACT score – Yeahh!!!) and do 7 weeks of workshops and stuff during summer 2012. I’d then get a practitioner license and teach for a year, and then I could apply for a level 1 teaching license. I would get full benefits and salary. I would be a grown-up. I think I would be a really good teacher actually. I’m good at explaining things and am really enthusiastic (not to mention my love affair with school supplies). I will be the coolest teacher ever.

Pic. Source

or more realistically, this will be me, but still in a cool dress!

 Pic. Source (best webcomic ever)

Oh, and the rest of the plan. I would teach math (6-12 grade) for 2-3 years (to pay off my student loans and get a nest-egg started), and then I would apply to business school. I’d go there for 2 years, and then I would be a leadership/management/business consultant! At 28. Then, I’d just have business school debt (possibly – I think I could save enough to pay for it completely, the b-school I’m looking at anyway). I feel really good about this. I can be an adult, but there are other options out there. OH, so why does this affect my budget?

Well. Test fees & school aps. I know what program I want, so I need to only take the Praxis II (for now), and I know that the program I want to do is 1200$ up front, so yeah. That’s what I’m looking at. So I have to completely reevaluate my budget for these new requirements. I feel really good to have finally made this decision. It’s pretty much how I felt after deciding to change my major from biochemistry. Relieved.

On a completely unrelated note, I’m going to see Wicked tonight!!!

Pic. Source

UPDATE: Completely unrelated to budgeting, but Wicked was amazing. I couldn’t get tickets before, so when a friend of a friend couldn’t go, she sold me her ticket at almost half price, so I was 19 rows from the front in the middle for $50, which is a great price! I didn’t even go crazy over souvenirs. I got my boyfriend a t-shirt and a Broadway program. I resisted the call of the stuffed monkey and $15 key-chains. I really recommend going if they’re ever in town. It was really a fantastic experience.

-L.

A Job Posting

My friend at work took a new job a few weeks ago in the far off land of Ontario, a job that she seems to like more in a place she definitely likes more. This leaves her job open for business. Being roughly $60-70k a year (with housing provided), it’s definitely a great job for someone like me; however, it starts asap. As in, before I finish my degree. I really considered applying (because I have a lot of experience with this sort of thing). I really, really thought about it. And then I thought, “What is my degree worth?” Because, if I took that job, I couldn’t graduate. From college. And was taking a job worth that? Not to me. I’ve invested four years of my life into this, and by golly, if I have 3 classes left for one degree and a bit more for the other (totaling one year), why shouldn’t I stick it out. And, as one of my co-workers pointed out, that particular job (of which there are 8 ) does not have a particularly low turnover rate. This job could be open in June 2012.

It could be on my list of jobs to apply for (the plan right now is to apply to the 2+2 program, 2 I/O programs, 1 business program, and apply for a ton of jobs. Then, when I have my options laid out, decide. These rank as follows:

  1. 2+2 Program
  2. Jobs
  3. Business Program
  4. I/O Program

It seems kind of backward, rating jobs before school, but I would like my undergraduate debt to be gone before I start delving into the land of graduate debt. Especially with the value of the US dollar not doing so well recently. It really is quite ridiculous. President Obama issued a speech last night (July 25, 2011 – Follow the link to Youtube & watch if you haven’t already) to motivate people to contact Congress & ask them to compromise already because this party divide nonsense is getting out of hand. No one wants us to run out of money and default on our debts (especially other countries). I really wish I could go to Washington and just sit in a room with a calculator & an Excel sheet to figure this out so they would quit with the namby pamby BS. Ridiculous.

On a more positive note, my paycheque (as Canadians would say) is posted and is $100 more than expected!!! Yay; however, this will probably be allocated to something not fun, like the plane ticket I’ve been procrastinating, instead of something like oolong tea. I’ll post my (ridiculously fudgeted) budget sometime within the next few days!

-L.