Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sewing seeds for the rest of my life

We can shape but can't control

These possibilities to grow
Weeds amongst the push and pull
Waiting on the wind to take us
We can write with ink and pen
But we will sew with seeds instead
Starting with words we've said
And we will all be changed
-Seryn, "We Will All Be Changed"

My Spring is about to FLY by so I wanted to slow down for a second and get back to this blog. 

When my parents come to Philadelphia next week it will mark the 7th month that I have been in Philadelphia. SEVENTH. Some days I'll admit it feels like I've been here forever and other days I feel like everything is still so new. A lot has happened in the last 7 months, both for me and those at home and I never could have predicted such an experience. One that has been a HUGE lesson on vulnerability. A word and an action I'm not so comfortable with. 

Coming into a new job in a new city with new roommates can be a little nerve-wrecking. It's an experience that screams vulnerability and at the beginning I was forcing myself to be okay with it. I opened myself up to my roommates from the get-go- I think we all did. We were going to be sharing a similar experience for the next 10 months, there was no use in sugar coating anything. In this, I found myself really happy. I didn't know why I was ever so cautious to be open about myself with others in the past. Then stuff got hard. I was missing out on exciting family events, I wasn't able to be there for a friend going through the loss of a parent and I had no one 'familiar' to talk to, to hug, to be near. This was the true test of vulnerability-not moving to a new city or going through awkward "get to know you" activities. It was realizing that this was my life for the next 10 months and whether the girls I lived with liked it or not, they became my familiarity. They became the ones I talked to and hugged and cried with. 

As for my job, I hate to brag but I think I'm pretty good at what I do-at least that's what it seemed like at my mid-year evaluation. Though vulnerability takes a new shape with this job. I have learned that this job is not always go-go-go like I may wish it were sometimes. I have to find a way to be grateful for the time this job has given me to take a break and breathe sometimes. I don't always see immediate change like all social workers wish they could. I have realized I am not meant to teach three year-olds and that third grade math is hard for third graders...no matter how easy it comes to my mind. It has made me vulnerable in the sense that I can't always do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it. God is giving me this time to figure out my next step and I'm not exactly comfortable with how much time He has given me. I feel like I'm SO ready to move forward and do more and He keeps pumping the breaks. As my good friend Margaret reminds me, I'm still experiencing a big life choice, I don't need to worry about the next one yet"

Speaking of-graduate school. Holy cow I didn't realize that the application process would be so much different than undergraduate. After MANY Skype sessions with my mom and having my roommates read and reread my essays, I have submitted applications to five schools for a Master in Social Work program. Saint Louis University, Washington University in Saint Louis, Temple University, Boston College and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While I still wait (very anxiously) to hear back from the first four schools, I am happy to announce I got in to University of Illinois! I obviously have made no decisions but it has been a long, hard, process and I am happy to know I at least got into one school!

So what's with the song lyrics above? I'm sure you're wondering. This has been one of the songs that has gotten me through some tough parts of the year as a volunteer. Not necessarily tough as in feeling like I can't make it through but tough as in remember not to simply go through the motions. In remembering that I chose to do this year for a reason, not just to be a resume builder. The line "we can write with ink and pen but we will sew with seeds instead" has been a huge mantra for me. It continues to say 'start with words we've said and we will all be changed' which mirrors what I am doing. I spent four years of college writing with ink and pen, studying, researching, writing papers, all on what I want to do in the future. What will that get me if I never actually do it? I can be the best student in the world, but if I haven't experienced vulnerability, hard work, and joy, what is there to relay to others? 

As a volunteer, I am using what I have studied-I am starting with the words I've said, and using it to push myself forward into a real world experience. I am sewing seeds to grow something, my future self, into what I want it to look like. So while there are some days I feel I am just going through the motions, and not actually letting myself feel vulnerable, or even powerful, I remember that this year was meant to sew seeds. I meant for it to be a year of action to spring me forward for the rest of my life. For that I am grateful. 

I hope this catches everyone up on what I've been experiencing the last 7 months-it has been a huge lesson on vulnerability-what it is, what it feels like and how to deal with it. Luckily I have 3 more months of it. Wish me luck! 

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