Like everyone else, I was born a weird-looking thing, strangely resembling a human but not quite. As a child I was unremarkable, high-spirited and flighty, bossy and difficult at times. Probably the most defining aspect of my childhood is the fact that my mother homeschooled me, alongside my three younger siblings. When people ask the south’s most popular question “what school d’ya go to?” I’ll answer that I was homeschooled and that explains why I’m weird.
My parents never stressed the value of college, the need for a high paying job. Instead my dad worked hard and my mom managed the money as frugally as possible. I didn’t really like school while I was homeschooled. It was something that I had to do, while I would much rather be working to make enough money to buy my own car. I hadn’t found that thing that motivated me and made me excited to learn everything about it and spend 7 years in school for. When I graduated, I was left with the intention of working to make enough money to move out as soon as possible and maybe go to school to become a dental hygenist or something. But little things had been happening in my life that would lead to a purpose and love for a job.
When I was 14, my sister and I attended a FIFA soccer referee certification and entered the world of sports officiating. I was terrified the first day, but as I became more comfortable and attuned to the game, it become easier and even fun. Being a little soccer referee introduced me to a side of sports and parks that I had no idea about, the world of recreation management! It seemed like the coolest thing ever! Possessing the resources and abilities to oversee and implement things like soccer! I finally asked the assignor, Tim, what he did at the park, and even met with him to find out more about PRM (parks & recreation management).
But I got lazy, and the thought of 4+ years in school didn’t seem worth it. So when graduation came, I was left with a couple of part-time jobs, the desire to move out, and refereeing on the weekends. Enrollment for fall classes came and went. I also got a phone call from Tim asking if I would be able to watch the recreation office while everyone attended a training meeting. Sure I said. And that was it. I was hooked. A few hours for a few days turned into several hours for a lot of days. I got to meet people, learn and do things that I’d never done before. It wasn’t long until I knew that I had found that thing. A year later I was starting classes at Blue Ridge Community College, and almost three years after that, here I am, about to graduate with my Associate’s in Arts degree and set off to start learning the theories and practices of recreation.
Through school I’ve found that I love learning and mastering a subject. I’ve realized that I am smart, I can hold my own in the classroom. I have the resources to do anything I want. And I’m not going to end up like so many people, working just to make money, barely getting by. I’ve got something I love and am great at!
My educational/career journey is far from over! Once I’ve got my Bachelor’s degree, I intend to get a Master’s as well. I’ll be a director of my own park, touching lives in little and big ways. It’s exciting, and the investment is worth it!