As I mentioned last week, I accepted a Counselor position for the next school year.

With my beloved school closing, life has been pretty up in the air, which has been unbelievably uncomfortable for me.  If you’ve ever lost your job or been laid off, you probably understand the feeling all too well.  It’s scary not knowing what is going to happen or whether or not you’re going to be able to support your home/family.

That pretty much consumed the majority of my thoughts the past few months.

Some people would probably say I was lucky to have as much notice as I did about the school closing.  In case you missed it previously, we learned our school was closing in October, so we had about 8 months before the end of the year, which should have been “plenty of time”.

For some of the faculty, it was; for those of us who have a fewer available positions, it’s not necessarily plenty of time.  For school counselors, especially in Maryland, openings are pretty infrequent and when there is an opening, you’re usually one of at least 200 applicants.

So the pool is huge and the opportunities are few.

And even though I’m not necessarily a “rookie”, that still doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to find a new school.

And I knew that when the announcement hit, it would be harder for me than probably most other faculty members; but that solace didn’t always help when I would apply for positions and find out that they had chosen someone else over and over again.

It’s really hard to keep hearing that over and over again.

And I tried to be happy for my co-workers and friends at the end of the year that were excited about their new positions and ready to move on because I wasn’t there yet.  I was still looking and it was painful to keep hearing it.

Even Devon talking about next year stung a bit (and I know he didn’t mean anything by it) because while he’s not excited with his teaching assignment, he had certainty and security in what he was doing.

As the school year ended and summer came in full swing, I was trying really hard to maintain normalcy and my usual demeanor, but those who knew me best knew it was a ruse; particularly Devon.  My anxiety and nerves were just ramping up with each passing day and I was just regressing further and further inward, trying to remain hopeful, but also being realistic at the same time.  I needed to have a back up plan if a new position didn’t work out; I wasn’t excited about it, but it was necessary.

I was just basically existing and waiting and semi-hopeful, but not really happy or living “my best life” or anything.  Devon referred to me as a “Debbie downer” recently and he was pretty right on the money.  I faked happy when I had to and the rest of the time I was just quiet and reserved.

Then a position opened, randomly, at a school in Rockville for a counselor for their students with learning disabilities.  At this point, I was applying for everything, no matter what.  But, this was right up my alley.  I’ve worked with students with special needs my whole career, not to mention my lifetime of experience with my brother (who has Down Syndrome); so I applied and, again, crossed my fingers.

They called me back the next day and asked if I was able to come in to meet with people tomorrow.

Well, yeah.

Was I going to say no?

One of my co-workers worked at this school several years prior, so I’d heard a lot of good things and an internet search told me even more amazing things about the school.  But, I didn’t want to get my hopes up; I’d done that enough already.

I met with the principal and learning specialist for their special needs program.  The meetings went on beautifully and as I was leaving I got a text from my former principal letting me know that the school called her and she gave me a glowing recommendation.  I hadn’t even left school grounds and they were doing reference checks; which is good.

Less than 48 hours later, the school President offered me the position and actually stated that I was the only person they interviewed for the position.  I was the only applicant who actually had a special education background and they believed I would almost seamlessly come in and work with everyone.

It’s amazing how quickly that changed my whole demeanor.  It actually gave me a demeanor again.  This whole dark cloud I’ve been living under just finally dissipated and suddenly the sun was shining again.

I have a job again, I can comfortably plan my wedding without worrying, I can make sure bills are paid, I can contribute fairly to our home without worry; it is such a relief.

And it’s not just the monetary security.  I love what I do and I love that I still get to do it in a great setting.

This school is amazing.  It’s actually an all-girls Catholic school again (but not with the sane district I was with before), extremely reputable, very high enrollment, very well supported throughout the community and by the district.  It sits on 28 acres….yes 28 acres, state of the art facilities, amazing academic programs (including AP classes, IB and Project Lead The Way)…it’s like a dream.

Yeah…it’s a little bit of a drive everyday…BUT I’LL GET OVER IT!

And every person I’ve met in this building is so excited that I’m coming to work there.  I just randomly met the President’s secretary when I went to pick up my laptop the other day (a brand new 2017 MacBook Pro, may I add) and she’s like “OMG you’re Stephanie!?!?!? We are SO excited that you’re joining us! Welcome!!” Everyone is like that.  It’s crazy to me.

It’s making me so excited.  Not only do I have a job, but it’s a great job, at a great school, I don’t have to worry about my job security (which is an amazing feeling) and everyone is so welcoming to me.  It’s making me giddy.

I start back for new faculty orientation on August 14th and I don’t even care that I have to go back to work in like 3 weeks because I’m so excited,  I can’t wait to get in there and set up my office and get myself together and ready for the year.

I also want to thank all of you for all of your good thoughts and well-wishes.  It has been so greatly appreciated and I think they finally paid off.

This counselor has herself a brand new school for the fall!!  Yay!!!!

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