It’s that fun and exciting time again! As most of my good girlfriends are in the “exit lane” on the highway-of-our-twenties, my friend Chris is just getting onto the highway (like she’s maybe only driven 10 miles). Reading her post prior to sharing with the blog world reminded me of those times when you’re really in-between. You’re in a place where you’re wrapping up the college “scene”, and looking for real jobs and thinking and pondering and going back and forth about what you really WANT to do. One of my best friends Kristina and I used to take long walks on the Greenway in Athens and just talk about the same things that Chris is pondering now-our jobs in the “care-giving” field (me a social worker, her a rec. therapist), what we really wanted out of life, were we really gonna be okay without making any money, did money have to be what life was about, shouldn’t we be happy about our jobs…and we were in that place where Chris is now (in my opinion).
If you missed the other 20-something post, read about my friend Anna here!!!
So without further ado, I share with you my friend, fellow social worker, fellow Camp Mikell girl, and fellow lady group attendee:
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become. I knew that I wanted to be an independent woman and to have a career.” DVF
Hi! My name is Chris Watts. That is about as comfortable as I can be when it comes to introducing myself these days. Whenever I meet someone new, they seem to inquire about just what it is I do. Yes, I feel weird talking about it. No, I do not have a super top-secret job like Gossip Girl or another life like Dexter. I am a nanny, grant writer, and aspiring social worker. I’m 23. In my short life I have graduated from the University of Georgia with a BSW and Georgia State University with my MSW. I have completed two social work, yearlong internships and I am somehow still searching for that full time, position that will give me the opportunity to use all these social work skills I’ve been learning and practicing. Okay but really—I want to help children and work in a hospital. Okay I really want to be a social worker at CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta).
So this post is about me getting there. Or trying to get there. First if you didn’t know me, Beano suggested I tell you a little bit about myself. I live in Atlanta (inside the perimeter) with two wonderful roommates that I grew up going to Camp Mikell with: Katy and J Fal. We love to host parties and cook for our friends. Come over. I’ll insist you have at least a snack. That is how I met Beano– well at Camp Mikell. I totally knew I wanted to be friends with her when I met her and she was the definition of cool to me. I was quiet and nervous to be there. She befriended me. THANK YOU, Beano! Love you. Over the years our mutual love for fashion, social work, and camp, we’ve gotten closer and closer. She is my go to social work question girl and I totally love to emulate some of her looks. Girl can rock some clothes. I can’t tell you how many times I have run into her in Zara. Great minds think alike. Other than loving to entertain, hang out with my camp Mikell ladies, and nannying, I am really trying to become a runner. I finished four 5ks in less than a year and aspire to run the Peachtree Road Race this year. (A big 10k in Atlanta on July 4th!) I really want to travel more and decided to include a picture of me in front of Brad and Angelinas place in NOLA.
Yes we went there. And yes I love celebrity gossip too. Don’t judge. Traveling makes me feel worldly when that hobby of celebrity gossip makes me feel ridiculous. I’m so happy and fortunate to be a big sister to the world’s best little brother. He is growing up so fast! I’m so excited to see how he grows up and hope I can be a great role model. He puts my running to shame. Watch out Olympic track team. Nick Watts is coming your way! And as for love goes…that’s another blog post all to itself!
Back to CHOA. I’ve known this since I was in college and volunteered with families at the hospital to help raise funds for CHOA. I was able to work with families and help them tell their stories at campus events and plan events for recovering families to access support groups. (IF YOU ARE IN COLLEGE – DO DANCE MARATHON. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!)
I absolutely fell in love with all of the support CHOA provides for families. Their services are beyond medically healing. They make sure siblings, parents, other family members, and patients are supported and have multiples outlets for coping and rehabilitation. I knew then that my social work degree had a purpose. I wanted to be there to help those families find stability when stability didn’t seem to be an option.
I never realized how hard beginnings would be. When Beano asked me to guest blog, I was honored and then overwhelmed. Did I have anything important to say? Would I be really honest knowing that so many people would read this? I guess this is another example of how hard and scary a beginning is for me.
For those of you besides Beano (an amazing social worker), termination is a concept social workers learn early on in their clinical education. Termination – the end of a therapeutic relationship in which goals are usually reached and this is a process the client and worker are both actively participating in throughout their time together. Basically – prepare for this therapeutic or professional relationship to end. PREPARE FOR THE END AT THE BEGINNING. So here I am, at the beginning of my true adulthood feeling overwhelmed, excited, anxious, and scared.
When I graduated last May, I knew finding a full time job would be hard but I was more focused on the fact that I completed graduate school in 11 months. While applying for jobs, nannying and obtaining my grant writing job, I kept reminiscing on the fact that I had just finished graduate school. What could stand in my way from getting that coveted position? Lack of job openings. More experienced candidates. The need of a social worker with a license. I quickly realized I was starting in the career world at the bottom. Starting a new phase of life. No longer was I sitting in the front of class and thriving on A papers. I want something new to throw myself into and to be proud of besides running after nannying or dispelling preschool conflicts (both big things in my days—but I’m definitely craving something else)!
I have to prove myself again. I have to impress a new audience just to get an interview. If you really you know me, you know that I am a by the book girl. I could never turn in a half-finished assignment. I can’t just invite people over without having snacks or making sure they are comfortable. Okay, so I have a little Charlotte York in me. I love a well themed party and monogrammed stationary. I have a five and ten year plan for my life. A huge part of that plan is being a social worker at CHOA. It is one of the first steps!! Part of my plan that I want to accomplish before 30:
- Be a social worker at CHOA
- Run the Peachtree Road Race
- Adopt a rescue puppy
- Host a charity or philanthropy event
- Be competent in conversational French
** Side Note: that really is the first thing on my plan.
Right now I feel like my plan is marinating. Waiting to start. Interviews, networking, following up, and the dreaded just searching in general – I forgot to put all of that on my plan. I honestly thought that graduate school, nannying and interning would be the difficult part. Balancing all of that would be tricky, but I could do it. Little did I know the job hunt would be the time consuming, patience teaching, and work that I had not planned on in my life!
This whole process has been a little emotional to say the least which is probably another reason this beginning has been difficult. After going through interview processes and not getting a few jobs, my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride. I have put so much stock into each interview and the letdown becomes more difficult each time. Everyone I talk to about this says something along these lines: the right job will come along, you just haven’t found what is right for you, be patient, oh it will happen, and other very positive things. I really appreciate them and all of the job hunting advice and assistance. I think searching and starting a new chapter in life such as starting a career (which is what so many people identify themselves with) can cause a bit of self-doubt and mixed emotions. Self- doubt because maybe it isn’t working right? Maybe I’m doing something wrong or something is wrong with me? Maybe my friends are biased that I’m great and companies would be lucky to hire me? Shouldn’t someone have swooped me up by now? As a child I was taught to not boast or brag. Newsflash—on job interviews you have to sell your skills aka brag about how you can not only do the job but be the best at it. It is very counter intuitive to being modest or humble. So many of us are taught that.
And there are those days that I wake up and just want to shout from the top of my roof—HELLO ALTANTA HOSPITALS I WANT TO WORK FOR YOU. Those mornings remind me not to be discouraged, because I still have that ambition to do it. While I am transitioning and trying to begin a career and I want to be mindful of the kind of woman I want to be. I recently read an interview with Diane von Furstenberg. It was inspiring to me and a great reminder that this is not only a time about starting a career but a time for becoming a woman. She says “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become. I knew that I wanted to be an independent woman and to have a career.” DVF While starting my career and being independent is my first priority; I want to remind myself about all the other amazing parts of life I have the opportunity of developing. I am so blessed to have these amazing friends in lady group who are BEYOND INSPIRING and remind of the beauties of friendship. They display kindness, honesty and reliability. They are in such fascinating, amazing and diverse places in life. That reminds me of all the other things I want to accomplish and I feel so excited to be young! I really do want to run the Peachtree Road Race even though it is in the middle of a Hotlanta Summer on asphalt. I really do want to have a dog to run with and love unconditionally. I hear it is pretty awesome to love a furry, four legged little guy or girl!
So I have a lot I can focus on and I do see beginnings can be exciting while being scary.
So with a little revision and acceptance for the new plan, I am more hopeful. (New plan- maybe other things will come first or maybe working somewhere else to start!) I recently started volunteering at CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) with inpatient cancer and hematology patients. I wanted to be able to provide support and skills I had learned in school to these patients any way I could. I started volunteering a few weeks ago and after one hour there, my life was changed to say the least. While I am learning so much about patient and family services in a hospital, I’m learning more about life than I thought I ever could at 23. There is nothing like seeing a child be full of joy and be so frail. Life is short and joy is everywhere. If joy can be found in hospital rooms with children that are sick, then I can find joy in this new phase of my life. I am beyond fortunate to be of good health and have the opportunity to pursue a career that brings me joy and benefit others along the way. Maybe it will come from an unexpected place. Maybe it will come when I least expect it.
For now I want to cherish my day’s nannying. I do have so much fun with these kids. They say the funniest things ever and ask some amazing questions. In all honesty the day I quit nannying will be a very difficult day. The other day the little boy I’ve been nannying for about a year told me “you’re my best friend.” How hard it will be to leave that little guy! After all I have learned so much from him (how to remain calm even when a small person is screaming and kicking) and I hope I have taught him that licking things in public is gross and how to hold a pencil correctly among other things.
My life is full of great people and great moments. I couldn’t be more thankful. Hopefully during this time of beginning a career I’ll learn more about myself and the amazing people in my life! I hope I can update y’all with great job news eventually. Until then I am going to cherish every moment nannying, volunteering, and becoming the woman I want to be.
Notes from Bean: thanks Chris! BTW, she is not a new guest blogger! Check out her Gluten Free blog post over at Why Me Gluten Free (also in my favorite blog links): http://whymeglutenfree.blogspot.com/2012/11/under-bisque-top.html