Ten years ago last week, I sat in my 7th hour speech class and silently read an email from the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University. Months earlier, I had applied there for graduate school. This email was congratulating me on my acceptance.
I remember turning my head from the computer, and looking at my buzzing classroom of lovable goofballs. Several of them would be graduating that May. I adored them. I couldn’t imagine teaching without them–most of them had been my students for four years. A couple of tears escaped before I turned my head away from my students. None of them saw.
It took me a couple of days to make a final decision. I had spent most of that school year complaining about the trajectory of public education and I wanted out, so I was surprised that my immediate reaction wasn’t “I accept!” Accepting the admission to BGSU meant giving up a steady paycheck and moving across the country to a place where I would know absolutely no one. I had never done that before. It paralyzed me for a bit.
And yet, ten years ago this week, I decided on grad school. I’m at a point in my life where a decade is starting to feel like a decade. One decade ago, I left the security of my adopted hometown and went to a small town in Ohio, where the closest Target was 30 minutes away.
When I decided on grad school, I had no idea what would follow. It was, without question, the best choice I have ever made in my entire life.