Almost exactly one year ago all of my well thought out plans went out the window. Just the other day a friend asked me about my plans before I knew I was coming to Catholic. I told her the story and she responded with, “Your life would be so different.”
It is crazy to think that it has already been one year. One year ago my plans were to move to Morgantown, WV in June of 2015, start grad school at WVU in August of 2015, and graduate in May of 2016. Instead, I moved to DC in August of 2015 and am graduating from Catholic in May of 2016.
God knew what I needed. I could not have predicted how much I would end up loving DC.
I have officially been in DC for exactly five months. It has been a time of growing and discovering. I have met some incredible people and experienced things that I never would have had the opportunity to do elsewhere. It has been enjoyable and it has been hard. There is something about living on your own for the first time that forces you to address things about yourself that you have never had to focus on before.
Over the last few months I have been trying to keep my options open and determine all of the different things that I could potentially want to do.
So, I applied for the Peace Corp. I was asked my top three choices of locations and jobs. My first choice was a Youth in Development program in Fiji. This one was most appealing to me because I would have had the opportunity to teach youth basic life skills and education as well as live by example. The program required the Peace Corp volunteers to live by example through living off the land. They are expected to plant their own garden and eat healthy in order to show the youth how to do so. My second option was Morocco, simply for the culture experience, in another Youth in Development program. Lastly, I said I would go anywhere. In December I received a letter saying that I was being considered for a Youth in Development program in the Ukraine. I was disappointed because Ukraine was the last place I was interested in going to. I was torn about what to do, but then I received a second letter saying that the Youth in Development program was suspended therefore I could be considered for an education position in Ukraine or an education/youth in development program in another country. It made my decision slightly easier and I responded by declining the position in Ukraine but said that I was open to an education or youth in development program in another country. Finally, I received a letter telling me that my application was withdrawn. So that was that.
Still stuck on the idea of traveling, I started an application for the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. They offered placements in Alaska working with youth and teen mothers. An absolutely perfect job for me. However, as I began to fill out the application, it did not seem to fit and I backed away. I looked at travel Social Work jobs. While that still sounds appealing, all of the travel jobs were in hospitals doing acute care. I would rather start my Social Work career with children and maybe consider hospital work down the road.
As I began to really develop a life in DC, I started to consider applying for jobs here. One day my friend said that she did not want to live on campus next year and that she was considering getting an apartment next year. I said that if she wanted a roommate that I was considering staying in DC. Now, we have found an apartment complex that we are interested in.
As I have learned time and time again, plans change all of the time. A lot can change in a few months, but as for now this is where I am. I have been called to work with children and serve vulnerable populations. What better place to do that than in Washington, DC? DC’s population is approximately 658,000 people. 112,011 children under the age of eighteen reside in DC. In 2012 the percentage of children living in poverty was 30.2%, which means that about 33,600 children live in poverty in the 68 square miles of DC. Why would I leave so quickly? God brought me here for a reason. One of the last places I would have ever considered, He led me to.
With all of that said, this country girl who absolutely hated even the idea of living in a city, has decided to stay in DC for at least one more year. I have three and a half months left of grad school and then I graduate in May. I plan on moving back to WV for a few months so that I can study for the licensure exam and help take care of my niece (who will be making her appearance in approximately two months!!!!). Come August I will be moving back to DC and getting an apartment with a good friend that lives in grad housing with me now. There are so many opportunities in the city that I have yet to determine where I will even be applying for jobs, but if all else fails, the agency I currently intern for has assured me that if there is a job opening when I apply, they will hire me.
I have prayed and thought about this for some time now and feel not only at peace, but excited about this next phase of life.
Isaiah 43:1 “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'”
Joshua 1:16 “Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.”