Certification TOMORROW

So I’ve officially met all qualifications to graduate and leave school tomorrow with my TEFL certificate. We have a job fair in the morning (CVs are ready to go!) and I teach one last lesson for fun in the afternoon. We got to pick our own topics using authentic materials, so I am revolving my whole lesson around food, of course. I hope my students like it!

I’m feeling so many emotions right now. Exhausted! Slightly sick from the stress letdown. Excited. Confident.

And that’s the first time I could use that word to describe myself in years. Here’s a quick timeline for anyone not in the know already:

  • December 2011: Graduated with my BA in Journalism. Magna Cum Laude.
  • March 2012: Put freelance work aside for my first full-time job. I served as a newspaper reporter/photographer/editor/layout person/whatever else they needed.
  • April 2013: I left the newspaper for PR at one of the big health systems in Philly.
  • Early May 2013: I realized I made a HUGE mistake.
  • June 2013 to July 2014: Dealt with huge mistake for the sake of needing $$. Attempted to adapt.
  • August 2014: Finally accepted that “adapting” was not going to happen. Left with no backup plan.
  • August 15, 2014 to March 5, 2015: Unemployed. One rejection after another. After another. Demoralizing as a 24-year-old. Stripped me of any confidence in my professional abilities. Wrote an article about being unemployed and it was published on Thought Catalog. A month later…
  • March 2015: I accepted a job offer from a marketing company in the PA burbs. It was not my dream job. I determined I would stay for six months at most.
  • March 2016: A year passed. I was still in the same job. Rejection after rejection after rejection. To say I felt stuck was putting it lightly.
  • April 2016: My friend decided she wanted to go to Italy. I decided I needed a break because I was swimming in my head and finding it hard to breathe. Unfortunately, the trip just strengthened the hold of my travel bug and it turned into a full-blown infection.
  • May 2016: I started feeling sick and sad all the time. I was in near constant back pain. I felt down. REALLY down. I found myself darting out the door a second after my shift ended. I found myself crying all the time — during my commutes, at my job, at home.
  • July 2016: I was left out of a big event the first weekend of the month and started questioning EVERYTHING in my life in that free time. I had off that next Monday for the holiday but a week later I still had yet to return to work. For days, I couldn’t move. I had reached a level of depression unprecedented in my life. It was really fucking scary. I came close to admitting myself to a hospital for help.
  • And that’s when I realized: I couldn’t live that way anymore. I was stronger than that.

In Mid-July, I told my mom I was going to Prague. I gave my landlord notice that I’d be breaking my lease, which she approved. A few days later, I put my two weeks in at work and my sweet manager couldn’t have been nicer about it. On August 5, I left, giggling my way out the door. I finally felt FREE.

I spent the month of August catching up with friends and preparing for the transatlantic move. I traveled to Washington DC and Denver. I saw Rocky Mountain National Park. I went to concerts. I visited the beach and floated in the ocean.

I finally felt happy.

And now, as the leaves change and the air gets cooler and all that seasonal evolution shit, I feel like I have a purpose again. I made an insane step, left all my awesome friends behind, left any sense of comfort in the dust, and emerged with a new set of professional skills and pursued my love of travel in the meantime.

In my last post, I said I’d probably change my mind again, and I did. I’m going to stay in Prague. I only talked about this city for six years, after all. I probably could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I had taken the plunge and booked a plane ticket here years ago.

Hindsight may be 20/20 and the future is somewhere around 0/0, but I can say without hesitation: I do not regret coming here, 100/100.