In the fall of 2019, I was coming off a research fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, working as a PhD candidate at Temple University and loving life in DC. I still had funded years at Temple University, but when I got the letter asking me to return to Philadelphia as an underpaid instructor of record while I wrote my dissertation, something didn’t feel right.
I knew that returning to Temple to teach wasn’t right for me and in January 2020, I started applying to middle and high school teaching jobs all over the country. I had taught K-12 before my PhD program and the long archive days in the museum made me miss the energy of the students, their curiousity about the world, and the ability to have fun doing history. These things seemed long gone from the University.
I have never regretted saying no to the contingent offer from Temple and was incredibly greatful to get a great job just before the pandemic started. It taught me, more than ever before, that you have to trust the messages you receive and make decisions. If something isn’t working out, make a situation that works better. Make decisions and see them through.