Good evening–or morning, or night, whenever you get the time to read this!
Generally, I’m one of those young adults that her peers look at as “having it all together”: I’m very organized, routine-oriented, plan-focused, and academically driven. Generally, I am always ready with a quick smile for friend and stranger alike.
But everybody has bad days, and I am certainly no exception.
This past Wednesday, my education class received our internship placements at the nearby Elementary School (and just so you know, this will be my first official teaching experience… ever *gulp*). I had requested to intern with the reading specialist, as my preference (obviously 😉 ) lies with the language arts and I wanted so badly to be a part of the system that opens childrens’ eyes to the magic of the written word. Reading and writing permeate every tangible and, more importantly, intangible aspect of the human world and to assist a child in such comprehension would lighten my heart every day!
So, Wednesday morning we met for the orientation, a 30-minute tour given by the school’s principal. Before we left the front lobby, she reached for her list of placements, each of us an equal mix of eagerness and nervousness. One-by-one, she calls each of our names. Each girl gets her mentor’s name, grade, and subject. 1st, 2nd, 3rd… Seventh in line, the principal turns to me…
“4th grade Math and Science”.
I was stunned. Completely derailed. The next half hour, I struggled to contain my racing thoughts, for fear the principal would see my inner turmoil playing out on my face. Did the reading specialist not want me? Why not at least the V.A. Studies/Language Arts teacher? I’m the only one who didn’t get her request. I didn’t even like math or science; how am I supposed to help a kid?? We travel through the campus-styled buildings and down the third and fourth grade hallway, past Olaf-and-snowflake-decorated classroom doors…
My teacher’s door is the only one not decorated.
Confused and scared, I sat in my car for the next hour following the tour and kind of, seriously, yeah definitely have a mental breakdown.
You see, my desire is to help people; I want to show love and spread encouragement. But I have literally no clue what career I should choose, and the clock is ticking down fast. If you’re also in college or finishing up high school, believe me, you are not alone in the struggle. All my life, people have told me I’d make a great teacher.
And yet, nothing fills me with more fear and self-doubt than the thought of standing in that classroom.
I’ll admit, the past two days I’ve been in a bit of an existential crisis. Pretty much questioning my entire purpose. After a whole lot of meditation, prayer, and some internal raging, I have determined–albeit somewhat unwillingly–to let go of my control and let God, because he knows better than I. His plans are always for our good and there’s something greater at work here I just can’t see yet.
I also got the help of one sassy bunny.
While in my car Wednesday afternoon, I suddenly thought of the movie “Zootopia”. If you haven’t seen it (first, I totally recommend you go watch it!), it’s a cute cartoon packed with all sorts of beautiful messages, but the main character is a bunny named Judy Hopps who has always dreamed of being a police officer.
She arrives, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, for her first day on the job in the big city–excited and ready! Her boss, Chief Bogo, passes out assignments to each of the officers…
Judy gets ticket duty.
Like me on Wednesday, she is initially shocked, but soon recovers and overcomes this with a surge of determination I am still praying to achieve:
“100 tickets? I’m not going to write 100 tickets–I’m going to write 200 tickets! Before noon.”
I’ve never been a really “proactive” person. I’m just not the overly-ambitious type. Fierce competition was never really my thing, and because of the emotional/verbal abuse in my household, I am definitely a submissive individual. So, switching from negative to positive in a flash like Judy is really hard for me.
You may struggle to find the good in your job. School may be beyond stressful right now (I’m right here with you friend). But, with a little help, we can each find our inner Judy Hopps:
- Smile: Simple, right? If you’re in a really tough situation, you know this one’s not as easy as it sounds. However, by simply tipping the corners of your mouth up, you are promoting the happy feelings in your body to get grooving. I don’t know all the scientific mumbo-jumbo behind it all, but I know it helps. Give it a shot 🙂
- Breathe: Did you know that when we start to get panicky or stressed, we physically restrain our breaths? It’s like a literal stress band we tie around our chests, preventing us from taking in a deep breath. If you feel the stress coming–maybe your boss yelled at you or a coworker is being completely uncooperative–, take a moment to consciously inhale… and exhale. Not only will this help to calm your inner emotions, but it will help keep you from saying anything you might later regret.
- Don’t Worry: Ahuh, I saw the eyeroll. And belieevveee me!, I wanted nothing more than to scoff at the words that DARED tell me not to worry when I don’t have any idea what I’m doing for the rest of my life, how in the world I’m going to get through this internship, and what am I supposed to do if it turns out I hate teaching? But would you know, the phrase “Do not worry” is written 365 times in the Bible. That’s once a day that we’re reminded not to worry. It’s not because there aren’t things to worry about–it’s because we have to trust God to handle those very same things. There will always be “What if?”‘s, and if we’re not careful they will consume us. Focus on today. Tomorrow’s worries will come soon enough, don’t let them rob you of your now.
A little bonus tip I suggest is turning the dismay into a challenge, like Judy did when Chief Bogo assigned her 100 parking tickets: even though she was upset at first, she resolved not only to do the 100, but she even doubled it! I’m unfortunately not at this point yet, but I’m getting there–it’s all in the baby steps!
Thank you so much for reading! I dearly hope that this helps any of you are struggling with disappointments today. God’s got you. He is so much bigger than whatever it is you’re facing–for me, that’s a 4th grade classroom. He’s bigger than your worries too. You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎