Thursday, April 3, 2008

Post College Break

As I wait for news about Tricia (I never sleep during transplants) I will write another chapter...

This is Chapter 13 in my history...

After I graduated from college, I was not quite sure what path my life would go down. I had my teaching license, and I had applied for several jobs, but there seemed to be little opportunity in Oregon for a newly graduated elementary teacher. The golden market that was supposed to happen when I graduated didn't pan out. There was the large number of teacher retiring, like promised, however due to dramatic cuts in education funding, schools were not replacing these teachers and instead making classes bigger. Thirty in a first grade classroom was not unusual. I considered options out of state, but hardly had the resources to make such a move. The fear of leaving my safety net of family and health care providers was also a factor.

On June 1st, just before I graduated, an eviction notice was placed on my apartment door. Even though I had never missed a payment, they were terminating my month to month rental to renovate it. I was again in a bad roommate situation and wanted to leave, but I really wanted to stick it out for the summer to see if I could get a teaching job somewhere but keep working my job at Mervyn's to keep my insurance until then. Instead, I was being forced out of an unhealthy situation, but was uncertain where I would live in 30 day's time. Fear grew that month as I continued to not get calls for interviews. I thankfully had two good friends at work both offer me couches to sleep on if I couldn't find a place. I ended up having to do that. I didn't want to find a new apartment if I were to get a teaching job and have to move right away. I also didn't have the money to cover a move at a time. So I became homeless for the summer, or as my dear friend Tommy who took me in called it "you're not homeless, you have a couch".

By the end of summer it was clear that I wasn't going to get my own classroom that year. I was sad, but also so burnt out from the previous year, that I was almost glad to only focus on working at Mervyn's and myself. I found an apartment with my other friend that had offered me a place to stay. We settled in our tiny apartment and went about our year. Mervyn's was not the best place to work, but I was able to pay most of the bills and I had health insurance. I was still relying heavily on my parents and was in big debt, but I was also trying to make it.

As the next summer came, I really started to try to find a teaching job... I applied to everything, had a few interviews, and once again came up empty. It broke my heart and I felt like a failure. I started to see more and more of my peers from school get jobs. I felt inadequate and a lot of the feelings that I had dealt with when I had that horrible professor reared their ugly head. It took me a few weeks that September to pull myself back up and dive into the world of substitute teaching.

Mervyn's was starting to go through some major financial issues at that time, and the cut my benefits. I don't remember the exact month this happened, other than it was at this time. This was terrible news... while I would be eligible to buy COBRA coverage, it came at over $500 a month. I had no option but to buy it... and if it weren't for my parents, I probably would have gone into bankruptcy at this point. I barely made more than $500 a month. With my bills, rent, food, and debt, I would have drowned. I am so grateful that they were there to support and help me. I still worked at Mervyn's, just so I would have a job for the summer, but I cut back my hours.

I began substitute teaching that October. Work was fairly easy to get, as it's Oregon law that substitute teachers have to be licenced, thus the pool of people is limited. I quickly found that I actually could have fun subbing. The horror stories didn't apply to me most of the time. I had a confidence as a sub, and a good rapport with the students.

That November I had to go back into the hospital. November 2005. The hospital stay, the break from my hectic life, and one email would change my life... but that's for the next chapter!

1 comment:

Julie said...

Please don't leave me hanging here...what happens next? (Found your blog through CFhusband, and I've been lurking...)