things that inspire me: vol. 1

things that inspire me: vol. 1

After high school, I went to college without a clue of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I mean, when people asked me, I'd say, "a child psychologist" or "something in advertising."
Things I knew: I liked people. I was a good listener. I liked getting crafty with words and design. But I didn't really know me well enough yet to know that none of those jobs were that perfect a fit. So I just kind of floated for a sec.  

things that inspire me

It was on the suggestion of one of my professors at Saint Mary's, Kaya Oakes (who, PS, just published an amazing read called Radical Reinvention that I highly recommend, especially for all of you who went through Catholic school at some point) that I become an English major. That day, I marched right on down to the Registrar's office, filled out some paperwork, and bam: English major was I. I figured I liked to read and write. At least I'd get good grades. Maybe I'd become a writer?

The rest of my time in college, when people would ask the dreaded question, "so what are you going to DO with your English major?  Truth told, I didn't know.

Fast forward a couple years. I got a job writing for a PR firm right out of school. It was a fairly glamorous sounding job with 3 hour lunches and wine with the boss.  I had my own business cards and got to write really important sounding things.  But I hated going to work every day. 

The only day of the week I looked forward to was Monday, because that night, I taught a religious education class with my friend to a group of 8th graders up the street at St. Monica's. Perhaps it was something about having a captive audience that intrigued me at first... but then I realized I really loved seeing what an impact one person can have on a group. These kids listened.  And they valued the things they were learning about their values, their world and their place in it. I was hooked. Within two months, I quit my job, packed my bags, and enrolled in a credential program. It was one of the best choices I've made in my adulthood.

As a teacher, I've been blessed to meet some amazing kids. They surprise me all the time. Since I'm a high school teacher, I get the extra-special bonus of seeing my students grow quickly into young adults, many of whom are already changing the world. One of my many roles as an AVID elective teacher is to be their college and career adviser. Most of my students don't come from college-going backgrounds. As first generation college-bound students, I assure them that it's ok not to know exactly what you're gonna do with the rest of your life at 18 years old. Heck, I love teaching, but I still don't know what I'm going to do for the rest of my life... hence, this little jewelry/stationery shop I'm hosting over here... (plus the consulting and writing I do on the side).

The most important thing I try to teach these beautiful humans I'm blessed to know is self-reflection-- to ask who are you? How do you learn? What is your passion? How do you live that passion? And every single day, I'm inspired when these young people give me answers.

The video below stars a kid who is not one of my students. In fact, I don't know this kid at all. But his innovation and his passion for what he does is so completely inspiring to me. It reminds me of how big kids dream and how quickly the doubt of adults can shoot those dreams down. This kid, luckily, was given the space by the adults in his life to dream big.  Guess what?  Something pretty magical happened.  I want to be that kind of adult in a kid's life who says, with unparalleled enthusiasm and not an ounce of doubt, "try it."  And the kid in me who told my friends and family that I was going to try my hand at entrepreneurship, thanks those closest to me who said, "I believe in you." 

You may have seen this before, but watch, again. I dare you not to be inspired, too.

xox
Melissa

Don't forget to check out Things that Inspire Me: Vol. 2!

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