Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Coming back to Tulsa has come with a few unexpected surprises (of the bad kind), but let me give you some quick background.  I’m the type of person that makes a certain amount of friends, feels good about that group, and then doesn’t bother to really work on making more close friends.  Yes, I have people I see at big events and work meetings, but once I have my core support system, I’m pretty content.  It takes a lot for me to really work at widening my circle.  This past year I would say I was even more content than usual with just a few close friends.  I had to move to a whole new place, start a whole new career, and become physically and financially independent from my parents for the first time in my life.  That’s a lot to deal with- so making good friends had to come after taking care of my sanity.  Alright, that should be enough background- let’s move back to the present.

In the past month, two teachers at my school have left because they were offered better jobs, I was assigned a new manager for TFA (this is the 3rd time in a year…), one of my closest friends here was on the verge of moving out of the state (thank god she is staying!), I was getting into arguments with my co-workers constantly over how furniture should be arranged, and my small prospect of a boyfriend was gone before we even got started.  Now most people have families and their best friends they’ve known for years to get through these challenges.  I, unfortunately, don’t have either of those here.  Phone calls help- but we all know that’s not the same as coming home to those who love you.

I realized people I could count on last year are not permanent.  Things will change this year.  I’m teaching a whole new grade (a testing grade- which adds pressure), I may or may not create that same wise owl family with my students that I leaned on so much last year, and my teaching partner for my grade is not confirmed until a few weeks into school based on enrollment (so I don’t have anyone to collaborate with that I know will definitely be with me all year).  Having people who can support you through these unknowns is crucial.  I really wish people could appreciate how great it is to have a spouse, parents, children, grandparents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews within a short drive (if not in your home).  Most days I’m okay being on my own, but others can be really difficult.

I have one year left as a Tulsa TFA corps member.  After that, it will likely be my choice to stay here and continue teaching at my school, move to a new school in a new city, or move back and teach in my hometown.  I’m lucky to have my career choice nailed down, but the place where I work long term?  That’s definitely a big question mark come May.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the past month.  Yes, I had a lot of bad things happen those first few weeks back, but I’m not one to just stay depressed about something for long.  I like to find ways to make my life better.  So while I type out my big goals for my students, I am mentally drafting some for myself.  My biggest goal?  I want to really give Tulsa a shot this year.  I want to experience the annual festivals.  I want to check out this annual fair I hear so much about from my kids.  I want to find ways outside of teaching to help the community.  And most of all, I want to get to know more people.

I’ve already started on my goal a bit.  A big reason I don’t get out as much is having to take care of my dog on my own.  Well, I found a great dog park only a couple miles away that attracts a lot of people.  It’s been fun to go out and chit chat with random Tulsans for an hour while AJ gets to know the canine community.  I also joined a dog walking group on Meetup, and hopefully will get to know more dog lovers through their monthly group walks.

I also *finally* joined Tulsa Young Professionals last week.  The more I learn about this organization, the more fantastic I think it is.  It has a bunch of different work crews to get involved in that get you plugged in to your interests and helping the community.  They also have a lot of events including seminars, happy hours, volunteer jobs, and a running groups.  I volunteered with them at a music festival last week, and today I went to their little intro session for new members.  I can’t wait to start working with them, and they have a social event next week I plan on attending with some friends : )

Do I want to live in Tulsa past this school year?  I really don’t know yet.  I know I belong in the classroom as a teacher, but figuring out if I belong in Tulsa as me is going to take some time.

“Just know you’re not alone, cause I’m going to make this place your home.” Phillip Phillips, Home

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