I came to a really terrifying realization the other day. I’m twenty two years old and the next major milestone in my life will be my wedding. Pretty sure I’m still internally screaming as I type this.
A few weeks ago, a day before school started, I got hired to teach fifth grade science in Newport. It was exactly what I wanted and exactly what I’d worked so hard for. Teaching has consumed the good majority of my time these past four weeks and I’m amazed at how exhausted, invested, and fulfilled I feel.
There’s something unimaginable about actually getting your dream job. When you’re working through the chaos of a college education, just trying to play the game and check the boxes you need to get to where you eventually want to be, it’s difficult to fathom the final result. And then, you get it, and you’re so crazy overwhelmed that most of the time, it doesn’t even register. I find that my days move so quickly, I feel as if I’ve been going through the motions for years. However, there are little moments that pull my head above the water- a breath of fresh air. Those little gems make me stop and smile, if only for a second, before I take off running again.
While chatting with some friends, and then my mom, and then my dad, I decided that I believe I would be happy teaching in Newport for the rest of my life. Granted, I’m only twenty two. There’s undoubtedly a lot that is going to happen in the years to come. However, I was floored, considering that at twenty two, I am actually working somewhere where I feel completely content. I know not everyone my age can say that.
I was considering this post and trying to trace back how it all happened so that maybe I could give some insight into the ‘right’ steps to take to actually get your dream job. I’m not sure there are any ‘right steps,’ though, because it kind of seems like a process that is different for everyone. I can, however, give some insight into what to do after getting your dream job.
Go all in. My best advice: volunteer for everything. Attend everything. Be the person everyone goes to for ideas and favors and help. Immerse yourself into the community of your workplace and put your heart and soul into everything you do. Without a doubt, your first year of your first ‘real’ job will be a mess. Exciting, amazing, and wonderful, yes, but still a mess. Take advantage of the freedom and the forgiveness you will be given (it’s your first year, it’s a time to make mistakes!) and try something new. Don’t let fear hold you back.
It’s important to remember that during your first year of your first ‘real’ job, you are new, green, plucky, and naive. You’re probably a lot younger than your co-workers. While some may be jaded, you haven’t experienced the bureaucratic chaos they probably have. That being said, take advantage. The things that get you out of bed in the morning- make note of them. Hold onto them as long as you can.
I’m terrified that this is one of those too good to be true situations, because my brain keeps telling me no one can be this happy at work. But isn’t that what everyone pushes? Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s kind of startling to think that maybe I have. I have to believe that’s a part of all this- the way we go through our lives with all the milestones mapped out before us. Then, when you finally get what you want, everything else becomes an unknown.
The friends I grew up with are getting jobs, getting married, and living real, adult lives. It’s crazy, because I still picture us running around our hometown late at night. We’re wearing sports tees and worn down sneakers soaked and torn from jumping in the ocean. I’m in a classroom, standing in front of eighty-five ten year olds over the course of a day and I’ve never been happier. I just need to remind myself to slow down, to take it moment by moment. You got the dream job, now enjoy it.