“Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jaime Lyn Beatty
February 2018: the following was posted on my Facebook page and resulted in some comments that showcase how well my friends know me (and relate to me).
Insert a series of epic adventures. Flash forward to August 2018 when I was brought on as an emergency hire at Southern Utah University, on a 9 month temporary contract.
“Oh the places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss
It is pretty safe to say that immediately connected with Southern Utah (see pics for proof of amazingness). Life in a college town fits me. The small town environment, relaxed and family friendly atmosphere, set in the middle of the mountains and close to so many national parks and outdoor activity, all make life low-stress and makes for a happy me!
Time with the bestie
Snow Canyon State Park
Looking to Canyons
I struggled with finding myself after my PhD. I read an article recently by Kristen Burton that highlighted to me that my use of #findingmyselfpostphd wasn’t just a ‘me’ issue, rather something that is felt by other post-docs.
I turned down two tenure track positions before taking the temporary position at SUU. In both instances it just didn’t feel right and, as a professor said, tenure track positions are like a marriage, you want to make sure you commit to the right one because it is a commitment. I accepted the temporary position at SUU because not only was I impressed by the leadership of the Department Chair, but I connected to the genuineness and sincerity that I felt via phone calls and emails. Everything that happened in the transition period from WA to UT and everything that transpired within my first semester teaching, further solidified, in my mind and soul, that I’d made the right decision. It became very apparent to me early on that I wanted, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to stay and make a home for myself in Southern Utah.
Home is not where you live but where they understand you. – Christian Morgenstern
I’ve been pretty lucky to live in some awesome places and meet some awesome people. Everyone has asked me “How do you like Utah?” The truth is that I love it. I feel at home in my job, the community, and my crossfit box (which btw, as seen in above book-of-face posts was a key concern!). So when the opportunity came to apply for the tenure track position at SUU, I applied and then held my breath (there was always a small chance that some super-star could apply and get the job!). I did go on a job interview elsewhere…I knew pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right fit (very nice place and people but just not a good fit for me). The whole ordeal was the most stressful couple weeks ever. So the day that I finalized negotiations on my position at SUU and walked outside…I stopped and looked up at the mountains and felt utterly content in the deepest part of my soul (I probably also cried #shocker).
Due to bureaucracy, and my own paranoia that something would be snatched away from me (b/c academia…), I have waited to make a formal announcement.
So, in case you haven’t figured it out already, it is with great joy and happiness (and relief) to formally announce that after searching for my ‘significant-other match’ in terms of university, community, and location…
I said “I do” to Southern Utah!
My dad wrote me a note that resonated deeply with me, in which he stated “The closing of your life as an official college student has finished. Finding a place to live and work where you “fit” and are “happy” has appeared. A new beginning of another phase of your life is here.” (My father is a very wise man)
As Kristen Burton wrote “I am not my degree, and neither are you. Knowledge and education can shape us in powerful ways, but in the end it is up to us to chart our own paths and remain our own advocates. Only time will tell what challenges come next.”
So, if anyone asks…this Florida girl has found her way back West. I’ve found a place to call home, a place to find who I am as a person in this next chapter of my life.
…I’m really pretty effin’ excited about it too!
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams” – Oprah Winfrey
Winter wonderland in Bryce Canyon NP