Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On making plans

Lately, I have been thinking about John Steinbeck's statement in Of Mice and Men: "The best laid plans..." You know how it goes.

When I left my job in professional hockey communications, I planned on focusing on finishing my thesis. I put my life into storage for a year and moved back into the family home to save on costs. I was so intent on getting my work done by the next convocation date. I remember how determined I was.

And then, the NHL lockout started. Which really, shouldn't have affected my plans, except that my thesis was on professional hockey and players' use of social media. And the players I had earmarked to interview for my thesis were either not available or I couldn't contact them because of communications restrictions during the lockout.

So I bid my time and when the lockout ended, I jumped on the opportunity to move forward with my plans, albeit one semester later than I'd planed on finishing the thesis. And then, I was diagnosed with ridiculously low iron levels. We're talking so low that my doctors wondered how I was standing straight, let alone working out three times a week. This also explained my chronic fatigue, and why every time I tried to work on my thesis, I'd basically fall asleep at my desk. Or on the couch. Or in bed. Sometimes literally.

I took more iron supplements than an average pregnant lady must take, and eventually got myself to a manageable energy levels. By then, I had already decided that I was due for a career change, and had applied to, and gotten in to, the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. That gave me the summer before my programme started to try to finish my thesis. I worked like a horse (or insert your favourite hard-working analogy here) and submitted what I thought was a well-rounded, mostly complete draft to my supervisor just two weeks into my new programme. Note the word "draft". My new plan was shot, as was the opportunity to graduate in the winter of 2013.

All year, I've worked on my thesis between Education homework and teaching assignments, hoping not to let this next opportunity to graduate slip through my fingers. My thesis is currently days away from being ready for the defence process. This plan finally seems to be going well!

But then there's the career plan. As we all know, there are no teaching jobs in Canada, especially not in Ontario. Or so say all the government and union representatives. And yet, there are plenty of opportunities for teachers with French skills. As I am fully bilingual, I planned on taking my French as a Second Language course this spring, so that I would be qualified to apply to the only teaching jobs a new teacher can get: those in French.

Indeed, my plan was to settle down and teach in Kingston for the rest of my life. But you know what they say... One minute I'm covering all my bases by attending a career fair at school that provided options for careers outside of traditional teaching jobs - including overseas opportunities - and then, after a brief conversation, and 20 minutes of more formal conversation, I was offered a teaching position in Sweden. Within 24 hours, I had accepted the position, and I am very much looking forward to teaching math at the Internationella Engelska Skolan in Sundsvall, Sweden for the next two years.

As much as this latest change of plans is exciting, it also means I have to make a bunch of other plans: visa applications, wrapping up my life in Kingston, moving overseas... And I've got until August to figure it all out. I cannot express how eager and happy I am to be stepping into this new adventure! My only reservation? I have no idea what to expect. And I think I've finally learned my lesson about making plans.