Setting Out and Starting Out

I remember graduating from Longwood University like it was yesterday. Those last papers, senior week, and packing up that college apartment that had truly become my home. It was a whirlwind of meaningful moments and books with dog-eared pages. Underneath my cap and gown, I wore a dress borrowed from my best friend Emma; and my parents brought me a bouquet of flowers.

It doesn't feel like four years have passed, but then again, sometimes it does. Two offices and a coffee shop. One master's degree. Three cities, two states. Three apartments, fifteen months at my parents' house, and a year of long distance with one boyfriend who turned into a fiancé and is now my husband. Ten months of self-employment.

Four years later, I am finding roots and settling down a bit more every day. But in 2010, I thought I already had it figured out. I didn't know who I was or what I was going to do, but I had an idea of who I wanted to be; what I wanted to do. I moved into an apartment in Roanoke and bought dishes and a bed and a couch and felt very sure of myself. I didn't like living alone, but the place was beautiful and my parents were nearby, and my friend Andy would sometimes come over and sleep on my couch.

Rob still had a year of undergrad to complete, and I had started working at a job I didn't love before very quickly applying to graduate school at Hollins University. I never really knew what one might do with a master's in Children's Literature, but I loved it and I wasn't ready to be done with school, so I started a two-year journey toward my M.A. I kept working full-time and going to class, and life felt very transitional for the next few years.

When I was almost done with my thesis, I panicked. I visited Longwood and sat in one of my favorite professor's office with a cup of coffee and told him I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do anymore. I was working for a software company and had this blog but I didn't feel like I was doing anything with my degree. He told me not to worry, to just keep going. He said one day I would wake up and some random thing would happen and it would make sense, maybe even suddenly and all at once.

I kept doing what I was doing and in August of 2013, I found myself setting out to join Rob in Minneapolis and blog "full-time." Living halfway across the country from everyone I knew and loved was never a thing I thought I would want to do, but it seemed worth a try. A few months later, once again in a panic, I frantically began applying for jobs. I worked a few little part-time gigs for a temp agency in between blogging and wedding planning and traveling, and then last week, I got a call asking if I was interested in working at a children's book publishing company for a few weeks. It felt a whole lot like the moment I had been waiting for.

As amazing as it is to go in and finally see what happens in an office where everyone has shelves upon shelves of children's books above their desks, I started to realize that entering data into an Excel spreadsheet is the same no matter where you work. At first I felt disappointed, but I recalled my college professor's words that comforted me so much two years ago. I am learning a bit more, every day, to be grateful for my experiences, and to trust what's next.

Some things just take time. And sometimes--most times--you're doing the right thing. Keep going. We all have to start somewhere. Where did you start out?

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.


Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm.