Sunday, June 7, 2015

Career Changes


This past month, a lot has happened. As I treat the process of change delicately, there has been many happenings within my life recently that I decided not to share on the blog. I felt like I needed to digest the excitement first and create a detailed plan, of course, before sharing everything. 

I am truly so incredibly over the moon excited to share that I am going to be pursuing college advising as my career. The past two years, working with my girls,  has only deepened my investment in ensuring college access and readiness for all students. I routinely wake up in the wee hours of the morning thinking about the complexities of the college application process and how we can improve accessibility, particularly for first generation students. In my spare time, I read books and articles on preparing students, primarily low-income, minority students, to not only enroll in a four year university but to also graduate within four years once there. My friends agree that this is simply all I can talk about and I find a way to incorporate "college" into every discussion. I feel incredibly fortunate to have realized my passion and to now have the opportunity to continue this work as my career. 

As of July 1st, I will be the founding College Counselor at Democracy Prep Harlem High School. While I've had a month to process this reality, I am still in awe of the opportunity. When I submitted my application, I was hopeful for at least one opportunity to speak to someone on the hiring committee as I was eager to give my best argument as to why I would be the best possible candidate for this position despite my lack of a Masters degree and only having experience with my six girls. The moment I heard that I was being offered the position, I cried tears of pure happiness, probably leading my future principal to question his hiring decision as to why he was offering this role to the sobbing girl who was unable to articulate a single word. Since then, I have created a running document on my computer where I am consistently contributing all of my thoughts and ideas since I think it would be slightly obnoxious to send the principal my daily thoughts now. 

The past few years, I've been told how much I have changed the lives of my students. While I'm not one to admit it, I am sure I have influenced their life in some capacity, hopefully for the better. While I am honored to have been given the opportunity to have played the role that I did with them, I think they impacted my life far greater. It is because of them and the willingness of the girls and their families, that I have been able to discover this passion of mine. Two years ago, when I approached them about working together on this opportunity, they had no reason to trust me with this incredibly daunting task as I had no experience aside from completing my own college applications seven year prior. When people congratulate me on their accomplishments, I honestly feel selfish because while I may have assisted them in finding their home for the next four years, they've impacted the trajectory of my life. 

I am easily overwhelmed as I think about moving to New York City, ending my time with Search Solution Group, teaching Henry to live in the concrete jungle, cutting my salary in half, and living in a city where sweet tea is not a dietary staple. When these moments of uncertainty come, I pause, think of the school and my role, and it all subsides. I quickly become overwhelmed with feelings of complete happiness and pure joy. I wish there were words to describe my excitement for this opportunity, but I honestly, can't think of any. I am truly grateful for this new role and cannot wait to see what is next. 

xoxo,

Danielle

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