Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to School and God's Provision

I decided that it might be a good idea to do a quick "life update" since my facebook posts of late have caused a rucous of comments and questions.  I think that I've been keeping a lot of these things private-ish because of  my unemployment experience.  People are incredibly insensitive about unemployment.  Though I realize that most of that is completely unintentional and out of pure ignorance on the subject, it's still hard to hear the kinds of comments, suggestions and such that I've gotten in the past 10 months.  I actually feel like I can see where a good friend of mine was coming from back in NorCal.  He (I won't disclose his name, but he'll know who he is if he reads this. Haha!) was out of work for I think about a year.  Nothing was really coming through...leads, part-time projects here and there which helped ends meet a bit, and mostly a lot of NOTHING.  Lots of struggling about WHY and what in the world was God "doing" to him.  Anyway, God totally provided months and months into the job search with a situation now that is working.  I feel like this is my life, though not quite a year (almost!).  I think that I probably should have had more grace and compassion (I did have some but now I have much more) for him at the time, but now that I've been through this past year, I have AMPLE grace and compassion for anyone out of work and looking.  Haha! 

Quick background: moved to NYC last weekend in March 2009; moved into a fab apartment in BPC; went to Bolivia in mid-April; began serious job search at end of April 2009; lots of positions but LOTS of applicants for all the same jobs; feeling discouraged; running out of $$; decided to start nannying part-time (12-18 hrs/week).

In December, Nathan and I decided that we needed to make some serious adjustments to our situation in regards to finances.  We have a great budget that we need to REALLY follow.  I needed to pray about finding at LEAST 35 hrs/week of work.  We needed to move into a place that's about $1000 less/month at the end of our lease in April.  First of all, I've found the work.  The family I worked with since September placed an ad for me on one of the largest mom's online community groups.  Within one hour, I had 5 inquiries.  Within a couple days, I had about 20 inquiries.  I interviewed with many of these families and now have 3 new families plus my current which adds up to about 30/hours a week!!  Yay!!  I do have to get that extra 10 hours, but that's pretty sweet!!  Also, we've started doing some housing research and it totally looks like we're going to be able to find a place in our price range with 2 bedrooms!  Yay!!!  Obviously we need to find that "right" place, but it exists and that's a great feeling. 

This brings me to the subject of schooling.  First of all, I would like to say that my decision to go to school is very much NOT that "oh, the economy sucks and I can't find work so I should just get a Masters."  NO NO NO.  That's not it at all.  I have been able to spend a ton of time processing my life and dreams and desires in the past year.  I have been evaluating the jobs out there that I'm qualified for and the work I would be most happy doing.  I have also been praying that God would make it clear to us (Nathan and I) if we should stay in the City long term (more than a couple years) or if we should think about transitioning out sooner.  We both feel like this will be home for us for at least 5 years and for us, that's pretty long term.  That's a good feeling.  To know that we'll be around for a bit.  I feel like I can make friends, settle, decorate our place (which I've done, btw...), etc.  I also felt like if that was the case, staying in the City, I really needed to become qualified to do whatever work it is that I want.  In evaluating what I liked BEST about working at Mid-Pen back in NorCal and what I would LOVE to do most with my life, I've decided to become a School Counselor.  It's funny because now that I've decided this, it seems like the most obvious and awesome thing to do.  Why didn't I think of it earlier!?  Duh.  I hated high schoolers a few years ago.  I was hoping to big stuff in non-profits.  I studied politics.  I didn't have an  open heart or mind to education until I started working with college students in 2005.  Then, I was led to my job at Mid-Pen (which could be a very long conversation if you're interested).  Then, I fell in love with high schoolers....I want to be a School Counselor because it combines the Guidance Counseling part that I think is so so much fun with the straight up counseling side of things that I find intriguing and a great place to give back.  School Counseling balances the issues of Student-Teacher, Student-Parent, and Parent-Teacher.  LOVE IT!  As a result, I'm working toward a Masters in School Counseling.

I am currently applying to three programs in NYC and am also taking two grad school psych classes at NYU as a non-matriculated student in the Steinhardt Applied Psychology Program in order to gain some psych background before I launch into a psych program at the graduate level.  I am not accepted to the graduate program at NYU and I won't find out until March.  The other programs I'm applying to will let me know if I make it into them later in the Spring.  I will keep everyone posted on that.

So, here's the brief re-cap:
- I'm working as a nanny 30/hours a week...heading to at least 5 more hours/week
- I'm taking two classes (two nights/week) at NYU as a non-matric student
- I'm applying for my Masters in School Counseling to start either this summer 2010 or in the fall
- I'm very happy and KNOW that this is what I'm meant to do.

K...that ended up being really long.  Sorry!  More later as things shape up clearly.  Thanks for all the facebook support, people (you know who you are!).  I really appreciate it.  It's scary to be in school after 5 years out of the game.  I CANNOT wait to work with high schoolers again.  I miss my Mid-Pen kids more than anything. :'-(


  1. Love hearing an update! I'm glad you are so happy! ;)

  2. Mer -as a fellow unemployed person I completely know what you meant! (Which you know.) I'm glad you're doing so well and are so excited about going back to school! I'm so excited FOR you! Also - I love love love that 5 years is long term for you and Nate! Gotta love that NU mentality! (Heck - 1 year is long term for me!) Blessings!
    Love - Emily

  3. Congrats meredith! That's such an awesome decision :) best of luck with everything :)

    i struggled and struggled with finding happiness in politics/non-profit, finally moved out of DC with my now husband back to CT and am pursuing secondary education with the hopes of teaching middle/high school social studies (which is something i wanted to long before i went to NU but fell into campaigns and politics early on and lost sight of my goal).

    Your faith is so refreshing - and reading this really reminded me that I need to stay focused and keep faith that God has a way for everyone.

  4. Meridith! I was unemployed for 8 months and it was rougher than rough. I know where you're coming from. I wish you were closer! I need some major help with a nanny and it would be fun to see you more!
    I am so glad to hear you are doing well and that you are looking for God's guidance in all of this. One thing someone told me when I was unemployed is that God doesn't seek to confuse us. I prayed for clarity more than anything else in that time. I think once I stopped praying for a job and started seeking God I gained a lot of peace.
    Glad to hear you're already there! Love ya!

  5. Hey Meredith! Congratulations on figuring out what you finally know you'll love to do for your career and having the courage to follow it! I am back in school also (after all my testing out careers) and I also know that this is what I should have been doing all along. Just wanted you to know you're not the only one and I am unemployed's hard to find jobs in SoCal. My best wishes for you and it's a brave thing to do something unknown, to go against the grain, and to follow a passion. Much success to you!

  6. This is a wonderful thing. Keep on truckin'

  7. oh friend. I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited for you! reading this gave me such hope for my own process ... and just gratefulness for your awesome example of faithfulness. I am excited to see/hear more of what God unfolds in the next few months!

  8. Meredith, Thanks for sharing what God has been up to in your life. It sounds like he has taken you on quite the journey.

  9. i love you and it makes me happy that you're happy.
    i like hearing the reality of life..thanks for being're great.
    that's all.
    miss yo face

  10. Meredith- you will be GREAT at school counseling!! It just sounds like such a perfect thing considering what I know about you. Glad you received confirmation and that you have direction in your career.

  11. Awesome update!
    We'll be in NYC this summer with HLIC for 6 weeks. So let's definitely get together!

  12. I think that sounds like a super plan. I've been there with the unemployment - horrible. But - wow- whoever gets you as their school counselor is really lucky!


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