On January 6, 2003, I started my first day of work as a advisor with the TRIO Educational Talent Search program at Iowa State University. I thought I *might* be there a year, year-and-a-half before getting married and moving away. (No, I wasn't dating anyone at the time; why do you ask?) On January 5, 2011, I will have my last day as 'Advisor' before starting a new journey the next day...becoming a full-time grad student, and teaching assistant for Ag 450.
I had no idea how hard this would be. In mid-August, I realized that I need to finish my degree, so that I can move forward. As I've progressed through my classes this semester, I have begun to think that (perhaps) I might like teaching at the university level. (I know, right?) SO, I asked about any assistantships in our department. Lo & behold, there was ONE coming available for the spring!
The challenge is that it's Ag EdS 450, the senior capstone course for Ag Studies majors where they learn how to manage a farm by managing a farm. To quote my brother, "How are you going to teach THAT class?" Trust me, Brother, already had that concern...and yes, that concern does still linger. The second challenge was figuring out if I can live on an assistantship "salary." I can make it work, BUT I'm very open to part-time work! 5-10 hours, please - hit me up. The biggest challenge was approaching my boss. How do you approach something like this? I was at a complete loss. The only solution for me was to pray. And pray. Pray some more. Recruit my "circle" to pray, and pray, and pray some more. It went well...beyond anything that I could have imagined or hoped for. I received the blessing of my director.
What caught me off guard, though, was the emotion behind the decision. Everything above was about me, my decision, my life. It makes sense to make a move like this. Right? The night before I met with my director, while talking with Dan about this, I just started crying. It wasn't about me, anymore - but my students. How can I walk away from them?
It was then that it began to settle in just how blessed I have been to have this job - this privilege - to work with my students. My goal in life, the reason I chose my major, the reason I took this job, was to "positively influence others to realize their potential in life." I get frustrated when I feel like I'm not doing this; when I feel like "my kids" just aren't getting it. Then, God gives me these moments where I can see just how blessed I've been to be doing that what I've always desired to do.
So, this brings me to the title line. How do I measure the past eight years of my life? (thinking of this brings tears to my eyes) My students. Their families. The brothers and sisters. I have been blessed. I don't know how to say good-bye to you all...only to count you all as blessings. I can only hope that my next job will be such a blessing; filled by people who bless me.
I mean really, in what other job do you have students devote entire facebook posts to you - that are GOOD?! Or say "RIP J-Rohr" and cause school controversy? Or cause other teachers to say, "She's just leaving. Is it that big of a deal?" Or say, "if only the next advisor is just 1/3 as cool..." You guys have made this journey worthwhile. It's all been for you. :) Much love & many blessings!