Nathanial Garrod

Like a Fire

Waiting to meet the Blount's for Sunday morning breakfast/church.

Waiting to meet the Blount’s for Sunday morning breakfast/church.

August is weird.

The past few weeks have been among the most stressful and challenging I have faced since I completed graduate school. So, that is basically just over a year.

Blacksmiths use fire to mold and shape metal, and I see so much of that as I reflect on recent events.

In the past few weeks I have faced personal and professional development challenges I could not have imagined, even as recently as when I accepted this position sometime in mid-May.

Being in two positions is a weird equilibrium. Some days I feel like I am always rushing somewhere for the position that I am not working in that day. Some days I feel a bit confused, and some days I feel so incredibly confident. The days I feel confident are the best, but often that confidence is worn thin by lunchtime.

Then there is my personal life. I have become the Portlander who has multiple jobs – I work my main two. Then sometimes I do freelance writing,  I walk dogs, I house-sit, I babysit and I now occasionally deliver desserts for a friends small business. Of course, during the summertime this can be exhausting, with friends visiting town every few weeks, and personal projects being put on hold just to manage all of those things and keep some mid-level of sanity, of fully-charged capability to be congenial and, on whatever level, normal.

Visiting the OMSI Dinosaur Exhibit with The Blount's and The Elmatti's.

Visiting the OMSI Dinosaur Exhibit with The Blount’s and The Elmatti’s.

This is not to say that there have not been wonderful moments in the past few weeks – visiting the dinosaur exhibit at OMSI with friends, drinks with friends, having a student tell me that I “made [their] week!” and one of my supervisors commenting on the value my knowledge of student development theory and what that adds to the team, a comment that felt like it, on some level, validated much of the pain and anxiety and fear and stress I suffered through in grad school.

Even these fantastic, beautiful, wonderful moments feel like they have been tempered by “I don’t care what you tell me to do during this meeting,” comments that presume a lack of knowledge on my part because of my age or how I dress or something. E-Mails that are like Hercules and the hydra – every one I respond to can mean three more flooding my inbox.

 I love every day, I love the challenge, I am passionate about helping students be successful and making a difference in their lives. I love becoming better at responding to negative interactions and bouncing back from bad days. I love the opportunities I have earned, I am so excited to be where I am and in the situation I am.

 But sometimes it is exhausting.

 And for every moment it is exhausting, I try to remember the privilege I have, the opportunity to be a positive impact. Every time I am exhausting and do not feel like I can type another email, I try smile – some of these emails are hard, but more of them are the best news a student has heard.

 I have been strangely silent on personal blog posts, and I wanted to make sure to update everyone – I have been busy, which is thrilling and exhausting. I am alive, and things are going well. And soon, the temperature will cool down, life will slow down, the new Star Wars book will come out, and Ruby Jewel will have Peanut Butter Dream again.

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2014 by in Thoughts.