Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Attempt at Having It All

I have been at LSMSA since I graduated from college. When I was trying to decide if I would accept my job offer to become a Student Life Advisor, the Director of Residence Life at my alma mater advised me to take the position while I was young enough to do--and love--a live-in position. While I knew what he meant, this week, I have started to really see where I thought I could "have it all" but have finally had to make a choice. I am no longer at a point where I can do my current job without making major sacrifices to other aspects of my life. Under different circumstances--like the location of my work being in the same city as Richard's--I would not have needed to make this choice so soon. Although I made the decision to leave my position as Coordinator of Residence Life months ago, I am recognizing now the extent to which I am at a crossroads.
Richard and I got engaged in May 2014, largely because it was the right time for us in our relationship but partially because of where he was in his career. Richard was finishing his third year of medical school, and he wanted me to feel like I had a say in possible locations for his residency. Before interview season even started in his fourth year of medical school, I told Richard that I wanted to keep my position at LSMSA if he landed in Shreveport for residency. After talking with people about this period of time following graduation from medical school, the consistent bit of information I received was that Richard would be working all of the time. I decided I would rather hold onto a job I knew I loved than to search for something new in Shreveport.

We were married on June 13, 2015, and since August, I have balanced a live-in position in a different city with building a marriage. It has not always been easy. There have been times when I have felt inadequate as a leader and resource for my students, and I hate that. I like to think that I have done the best I could at being a wife, given our circumstances; whenever possible, I tried to make sure I was taking care of Richard however I could. Other times, I have really rocked at doing my job and being a wife. I've taken care of myself, my husband, my coworkers, and my residents all in one day and even ended the day with a Jazzercise workout with some of my students. 

Last night, I helped pull off Senior Breakfast, the first of several back-to-back events for or focused on the graduating class. Celebrations of accomplishments, well wishes for the future, and recognition of jobs well done have been part of the past few months with banquets, award ceremonies, and parties, but the next few days are the intense ones. Countdown clocks to graduation are in the single digits, and the coming days are booked solid with Spring Fling, Senior Recognition Ceremony, and, of course, Graduation. Somewhere in there, everyone will move out of the residence halls, too.

Choosing Richard and our family is something everyone around me has understood; my hesitation in leaving LSMSA, on the other hand, has not been as easily received by outsiders. As challenging as explaining what "living in" really means can be, I have found it more difficult to communicate why it is I love being a professional res-lifer and why I have chosen this lifestyle as long as I have. Late nights mediating roommate conflicts, handling discipline issues, and herding angry teenage girls after a fire alarm in the middle of the night will not be part of my life anymore, and that excites me. With the loss of those times, however, comes the absence of many things I love: laughing about funny moments in class, celebrating college acceptances and sports wins, doing handstands against the hall walls, watching "just one more" episode of Gossip Girl together, and sneaking out for a late night trip for a snack will no longer be a regular part of my life. With the release of much daily stress, I am sacrificing the joys of being around a multitude people who make me laugh each day, no matter how stressed out I am.

After Senior Breakfast, it finally hit me that in a few weeks, LSMSA will no longer be part of my daily routine. The balance I have tried so hard to maintain will cease to exist. While I definitely plan to find a job in Shreveport, my husband and I will come home to the same place every day. Nightly conversations consisting of lines such as "I won't see you tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow is my day off, so I will see you then. And I can't wait." will not be a regular part of my life anymore. I have done what I could to try to manage two consuming roles I have loved deeply, but the time has come for me to move on from Caddo Hall. I am comforted that this place and the people here whom I love will be in good hands for the future, but I cannot help worrying about how I will adjust to life without it.

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