Background

Growing up, both my parents had great jobs, we lived in a nice, simple neighborhood and I played outdoors a lot. I always liked helping others and making people smile. When I was a preteen, we moved out to the country (same school district) and got some horses. Life was good. I did suffer from depression, but that’s just a mental disorder that I couldn’t help, no matter how great things are (so I thought). I learned more about the environment and the issues and I got my family into recycling and even talked some of my friends into it. I always wanted to be part of the big brother/ big sister program because, again, I love helping others, but I never got into it. By the time I found out about it, it was too late to sign up. In school, my math classes came easy and my science classes caught my attention (which was hard to do at the time). I liked reading and writing, but not school-related reading and writing. I would get in trouble in my math, history, and English classes for reading.

I’m going to slow down around junior year for a minute because I feel this is important – not just in regards to me, but in regards to engineering. I had NO idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I was little, I wanted to be the pink power ranger so I could protect people (and pink was my favorite color). Engineering never crossed my mind because I had never really heard of it. Well, I had, but not as a career option. I had also daydreamed about being a teacher, but I found my peers to be so intimidating and annoying that I shoved that idea out of possible options. For spring break, my mother wanted to take me to tour some colleges for me to choose from. When we toured Mississippi State University, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I learned that MSU had a really good school of engineering, so I decided I would do that, having no idea what an engineer was other than really good at math and science. I didn’t know there were different types of engineering, and prior to the campus tour, I had never thought about engineering as a major because no one ever told me about it. My loving mother did the research for me and found the department Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since I was so into recycling and conserving water and electricity, environmental engineering really attracted me. And that’s the reason I have now graduated from MSU (May 2014) with a degree in Civil Engineering, a concentration in Environmental Engineering, and a minor in English. I know the English bit seems out-of-place, but writing and engineering really do go hand in hand and I enjoy writing, so I tacked on a minor.

I worked in a small engineering firm for 13 months, with 8 of those months being part-time. I also found a GED place to volunteer 2 nights a week helping students learn how to work the math problems on the GED. The engineering work I did was somewhat interesting, but a lot of it was boring, repetitive, not much room for creativity, and there wasn’t enough of it. The jobs I got to be really involved in, I liked. I got to climb a water tower to help inspect it and I got to go out on the bayou to take depth measurements. But again, there wasn’t enough work. I found myself tapping my desk or watching Netflix more than I did working. I tried to practice on AutoCAD and student wastewater stuff, but I was bored with studying and it’s hard for me to learn things unless I can apply them. So I went down to part time and pick up private tutoring jobs through a website. I enjoying my GED and private tutoring more than I did my actual engineering job. Sign 2 that was ignored.

I decided that FL would have more in the water and wastewater industry that I wanted to do, so I quit my job and moved to Daytona Beach, FL with my boyfriend who I was totally going to marry someday (even though looking back it was clearly the unhealthiest relationship I had been in – and I had been in a lot of unhealthy relationships). I spent 8 months job hunting, tutoring, and getting more and more depressed. Not too long after finally ending my relationship (maybe another 2 months) I found a job in Pensacola at a large engineering firm in the water department! Yay! Only, I often found myself bored there too. And when I did get work, I didn’t like most of it. After talking with several engineers about their projects, I realized that no one tries new things or gets creative with their work. There’s a system in place for every type of job and that’s what we do. That’s supposedly what’s most cost-effective (at least in the short-term) and what’s safest. I hated it. I wanted to push things forward, not keep them the same way they had been for decades. I wanted to help others and make a difference.

I found an amazing therapist. With her, some others in my life, and a lot of self-learning and self-improving, I realized I was codependent and overcame that. I learned who I really am and how to my true self shine and come out instead of putting on a facade all the time. I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer and that teaching would match my strengths and desires in life. I overcame my chronic depression and anxiety and became truly happy.

And now I’m a high school math and science teacher. Yay.

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