In honor of school starting, enjoy this quick clip of a boy’s first day of pre-K. So many emotions….
I have a pretty incredible friend named Ashley. I met her in college at Vanderbilt and since I have known her she has known her purpose in life (for which I am jealous!): to educate children as well as improve the education for children so that they might have an opportunity succeed. And she has always directed this passion to the schools that others have given up on. She was an excellent teacher in Nashville fresh from graduation and it took little time for her to be invited as a member of influential committees and eventually was selected as her school’s Teacher of the Year as well as the Tennessee Education Association’s Distinguished New Educator for Middle Schools. But she could not stop there. She was accepted to the school leadership program at Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ivy!!) and completed the program in 10 months while on sabbatical from her classroom position. I can honestly say I do not know another person in my generation with as much passion and devotion to their job as her.
Unfortunately, after completing this rigorous program and returning to Nashville with a passion and a plethora of ideas, Ashley is unable to be a licensed administrator in Tennessee. Having been born and raised in Tennessee, raised by a Tennessee educator, and educated in Tennessee public schools, this is extremely disheartening for her.
The current state laws require licensure candidates to meet one of two requirements to obtain a license: (1) attend 1 of 19 approved in-state institutions OR (2) serve as a principal in another state for 3 years. Nothing against Tennessee colleges, but that first option is leaving out a TON of nationally recognized and ranked programs (ahem – HARVARD). The second option requires someone to upend their whole life to move to a completely different state and find a new job. I personally think this is a tragedy.
So let’s do something about it. I do not live in Tennessee, but I love Tennessee as my own and, apart from this affecting my good friend, I think it’s only fair that Tennessee schools be able to choose from a pool of the most outstanding administrators to help provide a quality education for the kids. Every state should have that ability. This is not about getting my friend a job (in fact, her other main option is to move closer to me which I would love). This is truly to change the law in order to give all those who earn degrees in administration or school leadership the opportunity to apply for licensure in Tennessee if they want to. It really only makes sense. Sign the petition – do it for the kids.
Today basically determines whether I graduate or not. Time for the dreaded comprehensive exam. Ok, so I’m not really dreading it, and honestly I’m not really stressed, freaked out, or anxious. Maybe I should be. It’s nothing like the picture below, it’s nothing written (other an outline for my own benefit). It’s an oral discussion per say on a topic of my choice, with my advisor and a faculty member of my choice. It’s really more of a mix of excitement and worry for the next step. Not counting preschool, I have sat in classrooms at desks, done homework, and written papers for 18.5 years. 18.5 years!!! REALLY?! If you sit and think about it, it is kind of ridiculous that it takes that long for your life to really get started. Granted, I took an extra step by staying in school for my Master’s degree, but still….
However, with this day comes a great relief and more anxiety. I began the job search over a month ago. Yes, I know it’s a bad economy, awful job market, blah blah blah. But it is still frustrating as hell to find a job. In my case, I am mainly looking for research positions. And there are plenty. But I really wish someone would explain to me why I am not getting interviews, when I meet or exceed the posted requirements and have experience in most or all of the job description.
I do, however, have a second job interview with an organization in Atlanta. It would be a great company to work for and the job wouldn’t be bad at all…..for 2-3 years. At this point, I have to look to a longer future, even just 3-5 years down the road. And right now, 3-5 years from now will be looking at Ph.D. programs in pediatric medical psychology. This, the only job I have had even one interview for, would do nothing for me in the way of preparing for and being competitive in applying for Ph.D. programs. I realize in this market that a job is a job. But at the same time, I have to think about the future and where I want to be personally. I have no idea if I even have a chance of getting a job offer from this organization (we haven’t met each other or talked in person yet, which will be a big determining factor). I just hope that my family and friends will be supportive in whatever choice I have to make (if I even have to make one).
But that is a worry for another day. Focus on one thing at a time (says the running dialogue in my head). For now…get through my comps and graduate. Wish me luck! (I just realized I didn’t even plan to celebrate in any way……hmmm…..)
Though my first epiphany was silly – my logic of running – it seems that the week of finding myself continues. As I settled into the semester, December began to loom….the dreaded graduation/ throw-me-into-the-real-world time of year. I was not planning to have a merry Christmas. Yes, I will be able to celebrate a Master’s degree, but to what result??
However, in speaking with numerous people this week, I have discovered what I believe is my passion and what I am supposed to do. My master’s adviser has constantly been annoyed by the fact that I knew what I was interested in but it is so specific that my job options are slim. Well guess what, V? I think I figured it out!! After working for almost 2 years on a research study through the nursing school, and being involved three-fold this semester, I love doing this! And what does on do when they love research? More research! AKA – get a PhD. AH!!!! I guess I should have listened to my mother years ago when she said “Dr. Kathryn Miller” had a nice ring to it as I mistakenly received emails for a doctor at the children’s hospital.
But I am so excited!! I want to help families who have children with serious or chronic illness and the best way to do this right now is to research because there is not a lot of it done already. So my semester begins again this week with a new life plan, goal, and kind of a time-crunch to figure out where to apply. Though there are not many health psychology programs (but Vandy has a great program!), hopefully I can get into one based on my research experience, recommendations, and passion.
Just call me Dr. Miller!! (hopefully)