I’ve been saying this a lot lately about this place that I’m in. This place that I was so excited to be in two years ago, when I had just graduated and was about to start my “adult life.” This place that I couldn’t wait to tell people about- that I’d actually scripted the perfect response for when people asked me where I worked or what I was doing: “It’s a boarding school, right on the beach in the North Shore, for high school students with language based learning disabilities, often dyslexia. I teach Language Arts one on one, and I live in the dorms, too.” I was so inspired by the work everyone around me was doing, and the work I was quickly learning how to do.
After a long month of not-knowings, I’ve started to get pretty burnt out. Pretty sick of being told what I’m supposed to do and how I’m supposed to do it. What I can’t have and why I can’t have it. But isn’t that what was happening just 2 years ago as I was ready to graduate from undergrad? Sitting at a table in a bar talking to the one other person who wasn’t hammered about how we couldn’t wait to be done… To be done with the drinking, the partying, the papers upon papers upon papers. I was so ready. I was ready for what I thought would be the amazing freedom of “adulting.”
But what nobody tells you about your twenties is that it’s all on you. Yeah, you feel young and beautiful and totally independent… but that’s the part I think I always missed: independence. You get a taste of that in college- living “on your own,” staying out until whenever you want, waking up whenever your body tells you to. In college you feel broke if you don’t have enough money to buy booze on the weekend. If you need a friend to sneak you into the dining hall because you don’t have any meal swipes left.
In your twenties, you suddenly realize that it wasn’t so long ago that $200 felt like a lot of money to have in your checking account. And now, $1000 might not get you through the month.
I came here to live my dream. To inspire teenagers to love what they read and to question what is right. To feel confident enough in their writing to share it with the world, or at least with their teacher. I’m thinking a lot that “I can’t wait to get out of here” because of things I can’t control. Because of promises that weren’t kept and because of things I can’t do anything about. But that’s not why I came here. Yeah, living in a dorm is rent-free. But it’s hard. Sure, I chose to do it because I knew I’d save money out of college, but I also chose to do it for the same reason I loved being an RA in undergrad. I chose this because I wanted to do this. I chose this because I was excited to do this.
And yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember this. Sometimes it’s extremely hard to remember this. But then something happens. Something like one of your students who graduated last year and wasn’t sure if they’d be able to make it through their freshman year college sends you their grades, and the lowest one was a B. Something like some of your seniors this year say that you were their most influential teacher. Something like you’re bummed that you’re working the overnight coverage shift and have to say goodbye to your boyfriend and best friend, but then the girls get excited just because “you’re home.”
So I will be getting out of here, or at least this house, in just a couple of months or less. And as thrilled as I am to start this new life, and to “adult” even more, I am sad to go. When people ask what it’s like living with over 3o high school girls, my go-to response is usually “hormonal and heartbroken.” And a lot of the time that’s challenging, but it’s also why I’m here. To be that live-in-big-sister-for-all-to-share. So yeah, I can’t wait to get out of here. But I’ll also miss this place.