Thursday, March 31, 2011

puzzle pieces

Does it ever happen to you, where you sit back and think about all of the events that had to take place in order for you to be where you are right now?

Because I've done that a lot lately.

You see, I've just been accepted to grad school. This summer I begin the Masters of Occupational Therapy program and I'm so very excited. It's a place I really never thought I'd be. So how did I get here, you ask? 

Here are a few pretty significant experiences:
  • 5 years ago (summer before junior year in college) I got hired as a play therapist to work with kids who had been diagnosed with autism, even though I had no experience whatsoever. There I met a very amazing child who I'll call Julia. I got to go to one of her Occupational Therapy sessions.
  • I decided I wanted to be an OT. I started researching schools and, oh my gosh, there was a school that offered the program in the area where my then fiancĂ©e (now husband) and I were planning on moving to after we graduated. I begin taking prerequisite courses.
(Let me quick interject... I had idealistic plans to start grad school right after we moved, but essentially I didn't apply because of out of state tuition, and naively thought that by the time I became I resident of Washington I would be wanting babies, or just be too old, or something silly like that...)
  • My husband had a work from home job he planned on taking with him when we moved. His employer told him he had to work for 6 more months before he could move with the job. He went against everything in his being and quit, and we moved jobless.
  • 4 months after we moved, we stumbled across a new church. 4 months after that, we started attending regularly.
  • 5 months after that, I met someone I'll call Katie at a community dinner put on by our church. It just so happened that Katie was finishing up her second year of the Occupational Therapy program. We talked the rest of the night and I was definitely inspired. 
And that's when I began thinking about it. All of my lame excuses from before were completely obsolete. I was already a Washington resident. I definitely didn't want babies. And I certainly wasn't too old. And then I asked myself... what's stopping me? So I decided to go for it.

To think, if I would have never gotten the job as a play therapist I wouldn't have even known about OT. If we would have waited 6 months to move, we may have never found that church (because it was pretty crazy how we found it...but I'll go into that another time). Then I would have never met Katie, who was pretty much the catalyst in all of this. I think you get the point though. Not saying it would have never happened, but I still appreciate how it did.  

Now, I could go on and on listing different experiences that helped prepare me for grad school, but for your sake I'll stop here, though I can't guarantee that I won't revisit this again sometime. It almost makes me giddy to see how this has come together. It's like I've been staring at these puzzle pieces for years now and wondering what to do with them, because at times it seemed like they're not even from the same puzzle box. And then somewhere along they begin connecting. And let me tell you, it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Jumping Bean?

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Andrea Jean. This girl absolutely loved to read books. One day, she was absolutely thrilled when her mom bought her a new book called, "Norma Jean, Jumping Bean." Instantly, Andrea felt a bond with this kangaroo named Norma Jean, because they shared the same middle name.

You probably guessed it... that girl was me.

"Norma Jean, Jumping Bean" tells the story of a kangaroo who loved to jump, but she didn't always know the appropriate times to jump, which lead to lots of trouble for Norma Jean. She thought that the only way she could stop causing trouble was to never jump again. (She was a sad kangaroo, as I'm sure you could imagine). By the end of the story she realized that she could still jump, BUT, there is a time for jumping.

Now that I've gotten older, I identify with more than just Norma Jean's middle name, but also with the struggles that often are apart of deciding when and where to jump in life. (Pretty deep for kids book, eh?)

Over the last year I've taken some pretty huge leaps. Leaps I never thought I would take. I've been pushed to places I didn't think I would go, (like a cadaver lab), and accomplished things I wouldn't have thought I was capable of accomplishing. This blog is going to be a spattering of stories of the last year, tales of grad school, and day-to-day happenings of life. Though I would have never guessed this is what my life would look like on the brink of 25, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

So here's to jumping...and landing on your feet.