Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

I don't regret many things; in fact, I think it's pretty dumb to have regrets. After all, you can't do anything about it, so thinking about it just seems pointless. But still, here I am finishing my undergraduate in science and knowing full-well I still need to get either a teaching certificate or a masters in teaching to actually start my career as a high school teacher.

I remember sitting in my freshman year engineering seminar and hating every second of it.

"It will get better, it's just one bad professor".

"Engineers can do lots of different jobs".

Those are the things I was told (and believed), and it's why I stayed an engineering major until it was too late to reasonably switch to education. 

All that said, I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out. I wouldn't trade the Great Divide trip I did with Will this past summer for anything. The circuitous path I'm taking to a high school teaching job has taught me exactly what I do and do not want. So no, I don't regret starting out in engineering, because if changing that means changing anything else I've done, I wouldn't do it.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains from Quandary Peak this past July

Which leads me to the point of this post: I've got to decide where I want to get my teaching degree, and I've got to decide where I want to start working as a teacher after that.

My time at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania, bordering the wonderful Rothrock State Forest, has taught me one major thing: I could never live somewhere without a lot of public land to do "stuff". 

I don't just mean biking (although the biking is big part of it). There's something about being able to go into a big swath of public land with untouched wilderness, and like, be free, man. It sounds corny, but I've realized just how true it is when I'm home in Sewickley surrounding by suburbia.

Being out west - like for the Great Divide - just seems so much more limitless than the east.

The way I see it right now, the only place on the east coast I could see living in would be State College. Sure, there are lots of other places with great biking and public land on the east. But to be honest, I have a lot of friends in State College (and family and friends in Pittsburgh), so to move to somewhere like Asheville or Harrisonburg and start all over again seems pointless. But things can change, and that's something I both understand and welcome.

The other option I have is to move out west. Colorado seems like the best choice, although there are some places in Utah that are pretty cool. It would be a big change; I'd be over halfway across the country from almost everyone I know. And for what? Better weather and big mountains? Well, yeah.

To me, it's almost always true that it's better to do something and know you don't like it than to not do it and wonder if you do like it. 

If I moved to Colorado, maybe I'd hate it. Maybe I'd move back to Pennsylvania in a year. Or maybe, I'd never move back.

If I stayed in State College, I probably would enjoy it a lot. In fact, I know I would. I enjoy it right now. But I'd always wonder what it would've been like to live in Colorado.

Rothrock State Forest in Pennsylvania

First things first, I need to apply to a school for my teaching certification. I'm hoping to stay at Penn State, but we'll see. 

There are also some options out west. Maybe going out west for my degree is the experience I need to decide if I'd like to live out there full-time. I don't know. But I better decide soon.

All that to say: there are no bad choices. Within reason, of course. Everyone makes choices that are best for them. Sometimes, you might make the "wrong" decision first, but almost always, it helps you to see what decision is right. 

Some of this (alright, maybe a lot of this) is just me trying to convince myself of what I'm writing, but after all, that's primarily what this blog is for: me rambling about things that most people don't really care about.

So in five years, maybe you'll come out and visit me in Colorado. Or maybe I'll make the two-and-a-half hour drive from State College to Pittsburgh to visit you. But I know one thing, the only thing I'm afraid of is making a decision without experiencing the alternative.

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