What I Learned in the Past 9 Months.

As my time working for AMVNX comes to an end, there are several realizations that I have made. I have narrowed them down to three distinct, but very important ones. Some are related to my work, others are a result of personal experiences over the past 9 months. However, all of them deserve to be written here, for you and me.

ONE: Finding a Career Path
First off, I am so grateful for the experience my first full time job has given me. I was very lucky to land myself with a job that I genuinely loved doing. Not a day went by where I woke up thinking, “Man, my job sucks! I don’t want to go to work today!” While not only teaching, counseling, and planning activities for these precious Vietnamese international students, I found myself developing meaningful friendships with them. My job was unique compared to most other occupations that work with students. I not only created and taught curriculum, but I was also able to become these students’ friend. I ate dinner with them nightly, listened to their stresses, and played games with them on Friday nights. I was able to see them not only as students, but as teenagers, while they could see me not only as a teacher, but a friend. That is something that I will never forget.

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Something must have been really funny. 5.22.17.

Furthermore, while learning their unique personalities, observing their endless talents, and listening to their biggest hopes and dreams for the future, I have solidified my love for teaching and helping the international community, giving me this deep desire to find a career that meets both criteria. 13 AMVNX seniors graduated last weekend, and as I unabashedly screamed their names while they walked across the stage to receive their diploma, I was overwhelmed with pride. A pride not only for one of the biggest accomplishments my students have achieved thus far in their lives, but a pride in all the hard work and dedication that I, as well as my other co-workers, had put into the school year. A pride that I am eager to feel again throughout my journey teaching abroad in Jiangshan, China.

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AMVNX Students Class of 2017! 5.21.17.

 

TWO: If Your Inner Self is Telling You to Do Something, Just Do It.
Now obviously, if the little voice in the back of your mind is telling you to break the law or do something a psycho would do, don’t listen. But for the most part, your gut instinct is right, so go with it. You might have background noise telling you otherwise, or perhaps you are second guessing yourself and asking ‘What If?’, which is understandable. Though at the end of the day your first instinct is usually the best route to take. I have gone through so many instances these past 9 months where this was the case that I could probably write a novel about them all.

Here are just a few:

To apply or not apply to teach abroad in China for a year?
Teaching English in China has been one of my dreams for a long time, I just never really pictured myself actually doing something so adventurous. I was raised with the mindset that my life time-line looked something like A, B, C, …Z (which is death) and not A, B, **, #, ????… So, the whole notion of leaving the country for a year was just not very realistic to me for a while. However, after some thought, I quickly got over that and figured out that I only live once, and that this opportunity is the perfect time and the perfect fit for me.

To accept or not accept the full-time position working at a bank consulting firm?
I was an intern at this bank consulting firm back before I graduated college. I made good money and my boss and coworkers were great. I just hated the job. So, when I was offered a full-time position, I was hesitant to say no, but my gut was telling me that there were better things out there for me. And now look where I am at…it’s a much better place than an office cubical that’s for sure.

To delete or not delete my ex-boyfriend’s phone number…and existence from my life?
Yea, I know, you probably think this one is pretty stupid, so I will make this one as short and sweet as possible. I am typically a believer in trying to maintain a friendship with my ex, just because ya know, why not? I kept in contact with him after we broke up. Even 6 months later, despite all the signs that he didn’t respect me and was basically just a complete jerk, we still talked here and there. In the back of my mind I knew that what we were doing wasn’t benefiting me in any way, though I still maintained some sort of communication. And then finally, with some help from friends, I was able to firmly understand that he wasn’t being a good friend to me and that he needed to disappear. Well, after too long of a time, I finally deleted his number and ended all communication with him. Should have done so a long time ago.

THREE: No Summer Plans. Yikes!
For me, typically summers are meant for working a full-time job and taking 15 credit hours-worth of summer courses in order to graduate early and pay my rent. However, now that I have graduated, don’t have a job this summer, and will be heading off to teach English in China, I have literally NO responsibilities beginning in June. For the first time in a long time, there will be no summer courses, no late-night studying, and no working odd hours. A summer without all those demands equates to a summer without any predetermined goals! If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I thrive off of setting goals. I make lists for every little thing in my life, just so I can cross it off when I have completed it. Therefore, I have decided to make a list of goals for my Summer 2017!

Heather’s Summer 2017 Goals

  1. Start Learning Chinese
    I just bought all five levels of Rosetta Stone for Chinese this afternoon because they had a $70 discount, and I am all about the good deals, so I jumped on it. And you better believe that I will be fixated on learning some basic Chinese language throughout the summer!
  2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
    After doing some major dancing this spring and running my first half marathon, my body is probably the healthiest it’s been in the past 4 years, and I plan to continue to let my body feel as good as it does now! This involves eating clean most days (gotta have a few cheat days in there) and exercising lots!
  3. Read at Least 10 Books
    Summer time seems to always be when I become a huge book worm! I keep an ongoing list of books in notes on my iPhone that I come across as well as ones that my friends suggest. That list is very useful when it comes time to read! Here are a few that I plan on reading this summer:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty
The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom
How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

  1. Write Every Day
    The last time I wrote consistently every day was last summer. And even then, that didn’t last long, it was only for 2 weeks and during a not so happy time might I add. Therefore, for this summer, I want to challenge myself to write something every night. To chronicle the joyous, the upsetting, the exciting, and the everything in between.
  2. Go On At Least 5 Vacations
    Now, before you jump to the notion of, ‘Woah who goes on five vacations in one summer?!’ let me explain why this is one of my goals. Basically, I just want to take five vacations because I have time, and like I said before, I never have had free time in the summer! I love being active and I love adventure, so vacations seem like a good avenue to be active and adventurous! Now for me, a vacation is simply spending more than 24 hours away from the city you currently reside in doing something you typically wouldn’t do in that city. I am already taking two trips to visit my sisters and mom, who live outside of Lincoln, so there’s two vacations right there. Now, for the other three. I don’t have any solid plans as of yet, but a weekend trip to Kansas City with one of my good friends from high school, as well as a potential trip to Yellowstone National Park with another friend over The Fourth are in the works.

As I finish writing this blog post about my recent realizations, I have made yet another one: I really don’t have anything figured out. Ha! I can sit here, articulate my thoughts and reminisce on the good and the bad of my life. But at the end of the day, does anyone really have anything figured out? My educated guess is no. We just live our lives telling ourselves we do! But hey, that isn’t a bad thing! It’s what gives us confidence and pushes us to be better versions of ourselves. (Which is basically what this post is all about: Needing to be more confident about first instincts and wanting to accomplish summer goals).

What I do know though is that anything can happen in two and a half months! And I can’t wait to experience them all and share them with you!

Until next time,
Heather Mei

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