It feels surreal to be writing this last blog post.
As I sit down to write this, drinking out of my Mom coffee mug, with the baby monitor next to me, watching my daughter sleep, I cannot help but feel all the feels.
I started this journey about five years ago. Five years ago I was a pretty new teacher, freaking out about the fact that I didn’t have a summer job. I was living with two of my girlfriends at the time, one of whom was also a teacher, with a steady and pretty sweet tutoring gig in the summers. I felt like I HAD to get a job. But I also felt stuck. I was finishing up my first full year of teaching (I had started mid year the year before) and felt mentally exhausted. I had spent so much of my energy on lesson plans and worrying about my students, on top of the pressure to find a summer job, that I wasn’t focused on me. I was so focused on things I HAD to do, instead of things I WANTED to do.
I have always been a writer. I would write spells (I was obsessed with “Charmed” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”). I would write poems. I would write apology letters to my dad whenever we got into a fight. And I would journal. A lot. Every vacation we went on started out with my mom taking me and my best friend, who came on every trip with us, to the dollar store to buy new notebooks. The entire car ride, and every night before bed, Caitlyn, the friend, and I would write about our day. Sometimes I would write stories.
So five years ago when I felt mentally exhausted from teaching and adulting, I thought about what I wanted to do for myself and started looking into writing programs. While I hoped that I would learn useful things to implement in my classroom, going back to school was more for me. I love being a student and wanted someone to teach me for a change.
I will never forget bringing my boyfriend (who’s now my husband) to Kean’s open house. We met with Dr. Zamora and both left feeling so excited. Me, excited for this new opportunity, and Rob, excited for me! He took a picture of me in front of the Kean sign that day, and I remember him saying that when I graduate, we’ll probably be married! And now here we are, married two and half years, and parents to the most beautiful baby girl.
I cannot believe how much has changed since that day at orientation, and how much I have grown. Looking back, I was basically just starting my adult life. Looking back, I realize how damn proud I am that I choose to do something for myself. I think that it’s so important to always do the things that make you happy, because in order to be happy in other areas of my life, I first have to be happy with myself. This journey makes me happy.
I came in to this program in the throws of my OCD. I remember how anxious I would get walking to and from class. I remember the rituals, and the tapping, and the pacing I would do and how I tried to hide them. But I also came into this program knowing it would help me. I knew that I wanted to write a novel about OCD, and while the plot and structure of the novel has evolved, the main intent is still the same: to help people, while helping myself.
I cannot thank Dr. Zamora, and the professors I’ve had along the way, enough. Your support and encouragement and understanding made this thesis possible for me. I cannot wait to continue the story and hopefully publish it one day! I am so proud of all that I have accomplished throughout this program, and can’t wait to see what comes next!