Someone once told me, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Well God must be somewhere in heaven ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing, for all you non-texters out there), because in the course of 24 hours, my life plan has been completely turned on its head! In the midst of anxiously awaiting final notification, I received an offer to join a teaching fellowship in the Big D (Dallas, not Detroit), which also happened to be my #1 highly preferred region. I lived in Texas during my childhood and teenage years and couldn’t wait to get back there! Plus, my super-awesome big sis lives there too (seriously guys- she is the older sibling younger siblings dream about!). Instead of accepting the offer right away, I decided to wait a couple of weeks for my TFA notification, confident that they would also send me down south.
I received early notification that I had been accepted into the corps, but I would have to wait one more week before learning about my regional placement and subject assignment. I was very confident (maybe overly so) that I would get my first choice after speaking to numerous corps members and alums who were all given the same. Even though TFA clearly does not guarantee this, I felt no reason to worry. Being the Type A personality that I am, I had already researched and carefully planned where I’d live (downtown Fort Worth, in the arts district), where I’d attend church (Oak Cliff Fellowship); I’d even scheduled the movers to come and move my things from my current home in Charlotte to Fort Worth on May 21st. One can only imagine my shock and surprise when I accessed the applicant center last night and discovered that I was assigned to teach special education… in Baltimore! Really? My heart sank.
Immediately I knew I had a decision to make: either continue in my stubborn efforts to go to Texas (my plan), or follow my heart, and go after something I really wanted to do. Something I feel divinely ordained to accomplish. I decided to sleep on it, but not before writing a frantic email to the admissions team, begging for a reassignment! When I awoke at 6:02 a.m. the next morning, this thought immediately popped into my mind: my need to affect change on a broader scale is greater than my need for comfort. I knew not accepting a position in the corps would not only violate my conscience, it would break my heart. So with that, a reassuring email from Danielle in admissions (she’s the best!), and advice from my cousin Grace (go out and rent The Corner and The Wire, and if you still want to go to Baltimore, Godspeed…), my mind was made up: Baltimore, here I come! Though it will mean saying goodbye to Texas (for now), and not seeing my super-awesome big sis on a regular basis, I know that I have made the right decision.
I take further comfort in the fact that education reform powerhouse Michelle Rhee was also a Baltimore corps member. If I can accomplish only a fraction of what she has, then it will all be worth it.
I write this for anyone who may be disappointed in their region and subject assignments, and thus contemplating declining their offer from TFA. Stop and really think! You must decide for yourself what is really important, but I encourage you to search your soul before hitting that ‘decline’ button. Follow your heart, and listen to that still, small voice. Be flexible and keep an open mind. My inflexibility almost cost be my dream and my life’s work, but I now know:
Anything we love can be saved- even from my stubbornness!