On Friday, August 23rd I received a call from Interior Alaska, offering me a job on the residential staff of a boarding school. I accepted, packed two bags, and was on a plane by Monday.
Because this happened so fast, I did not have enough time to explain to everyone what I was doing. Therefore this much-needed blog is finally being typed.
As most of you know, I graduated from Moody this spring and was planning to take a gap-year in order to save for graduate school. I examined a variety of options for this year, including living with friends in Louisville, moving in with my brother in Tucson, returning to the parents in Minnesota, or staying in Chicago. During the summer I worked at Camp Cherith in Minnesota, praying that something would fall into place in August.
After camp I was staying with my parents and looking into local job opportunities when I heard from my good friend and former roommate Carrie. She and her husband Matt were moving to Alaska to work as resident advisors at a boarding school. As soon as I heard this, I felt a pang of jealousy. I had always wanted to go to Alaska. In fact, Carrie & I had researched Alaskan summer jobs when we were roommates. And now she was moving to Alaska while I was looking up low-paying jobs near my parents’ apartment.
A minute later the jealousy was gone, replaced with sudden inspiration. I pulled up the school website on my laptop and looked up the number for the Dean of Students. A minute later I was on the phone with him, politely asking if there were any open positions on the residential staff. He said that they usually finish hiring in the spring, but in an unusual turn of events they had just received board approval to hire one more staff member for the residential team. They would be accepting applications for two more days.
In that moment I knew that this position was the job I wanted.
I immediately pulled up the Alaska Teacher Placement website and began filling out the long online application. I worked on it for the next few hours straight, perfecting my cover letter and resume. After examining gap-year options for several months and feeling so uncertain, suddenly this Alaskan opportunity popped up and just felt right. I woke up early the next morning to double-check everything and send it off. I spent most of the day researching life in Alaska and information about the school.
The next day I received a call from Alaska, asking to schedule a phone interview. I was so excited that I jumped for joy around the living room. A couple days later I was pacing back and forth in my parents’ apartment answering tricky interview questions about how to work with teenagers. About 40 minutes later the interview concluded and I was told that they would be contacting my references. I would hear from them in about a week.
Then the torturous waiting began. Each day that went by made me realize how badly I wanted the job. I felt so excited about the prospect of working with high school students in Alaska that any other option seemed miserable in comparison. I was hesitant to tell anyone about the job, in case it was not offered to me, but after a few days I could not resist talking about it because it was consuming my thought-life.
The waiting was made a little easier by traveling to Chicago to see the Osborns and then going on a family camping trip. On the last day of camping trip I received the much-anticipated phone call, offering me the job and asking how soon I would be able to fly out. I said I only needed two days.
So I pulled out my winter clothes from storage, made a couple trips to REI to scour the clearance racks for Arctic gear, and began packing. By Monday morning I had two monstrous duffel bags (at about 60 lbs each) and my carry-on stuffed with everything I would need for the year. That afternoon I hugged my family goodbye and hopped on a plane.
I have no idea what Alaska will hold for me, but I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you in this blog.