Chance encounters

credit: Stephen Bowler Flickr
credit: Stephen Bowler Flickr

The past 2 weeks have been full of chance encounters. People who have inspired me and brought my attention towards what I really want in life. It’s been an interesting experience and I am very thankful for them. One situation was completely out of the blue and confusing but it was amazing. Here’s what happened:

A few weeks ago I got a phone call from a woman named Jean asking if I wanted to come in for an interview at the teacher store she owned. The thing that was confusing is that I didn’t remember even applying for a job at this store at all but I agreed to come in for an interview. Jon made fun of me for randomly going to an interview for a job I wasn’t sure I applied for and knew I didn’t want.  I’m a naturally curious person so I just wanted to see what would happen when I went.

The day came and I went in for my interview. Jean and I went to the back room and sat down and started talking. She asked me to tell her about myself so I did, I included the refugee clothing distribution that was going to be happening. I must have talked about it in great detail and with great passion because when I finished she looks at me and says “What are you doing here? Also, why are you teaching? Your heart is clearly into helping refugees.” I told her I knew that this was the case it was just hard to get people to hire you into the non-profit world with no specific non-profit work experience.

For the next 30 minutes, yes 30 minutes, Jean helped me work out a plan for my life. She gave me her personal phone number and told her to call her if I wanted to talk about this any more. She agreed that it was the weirdest interview she had ever conducted but she was glad we had the opportunity to talk. It was strange but felt necessary.

The notes my interviewer took about what I should do with my life
The notes my interviewer took about what I should do with my life

I’ve been studying for my GRE all summer so that I can get into a Master’s program. I’ve been looking at a Public Administration degree with a concentration in non-profit management. However, another encounter this week has started me thinking about other options.

This week was Refugee Outreach Clothing Kids, clothing distribution for newly settled refugees. I was there all week volunteering. One of the last families I met was a family from the Congo. They didn’t speak English so all conversations were with pantomimes and simple sentences. This woman informed one of the volunteers that the little boy that was with them was not their son. This boy had witnessed his entire family lined up and beheaded. This family had taken him in in the refugee camp. That story stuck with me. That night I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about how that was a reality for so many people. I woke up in the middle of the night and was researching foreign relations majors and immigrant issues.

These two encounters, plus my entire summer spent helping ROCK has definitely given me some insight into what I want to be doing and what I love. I think another indicator was that I work 12 hours a day for 6 days in a row and didn’t think anything of it, in fact I enjoyed what I was doing.

I think it’s important for us to all realize, our interactions and experiences change us. We change, we change our minds and that’s okay. I still have to tell myself often that it’s okay that I no longer want to teach, things change.

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