A Full Plate

Over the weekend I disconnected from the virtual world in favor of spending time in the real world (with the exception of Instagram on my phone).  I go through periods every now and then where I love my computer – Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter, writing blog posts, sorting through old pictures, reading blogs – and then I go through periods where the last thing I want to do is open my computer.  Not surprisingly, these periods come and go in relation to the amount of work that I have on my plate.

Refill your glass and fill your plate, because I’ve got a rather lengthy ramble to share today…

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The principal at the school I used to teach at suggested that I meet with a few principals in the county to hear about their experiences teaching in an elementary school, as well as pursuing a master’s degree.  I couldn’t have agreed more so I immediately reached out to a handful of principals.  I had my first meeting a couple of weeks ago and walked out of the school feeling even more confident about my plans.  Last Thursday I had my second meeting…

Every Halloween, the school has a tradition of parading around the track to show off their Halloween costumes so when the principal met me in the front office dressed in his pirate garb (talking parrot included) – it was hilarious!  Our conversation began with him telling me about the school community, his experiences as a classroom teacher, and what he looks for in a teacher when he’s hiring.  He then asked me to discuss my background and future plans of becoming an elementary school teacher.

I went through everything from elementary school through high school.  Considering that I’m 24-years-old, I typically wouldn’t talk about grade school, but since I attended schools in the county I thought it was relevant information.  I continued to discuss my passion for sports and how I thought that I wanted to play in college but knew that I also wanted to do other things so I chose a D3 school.  I explained that my first year of college wasn’t what I had hoped for (plus you cannot major in education in the state of Virginia) so I transferred to Boston University and loved the 3 years that I spent there.

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Following graduation, I subbed for the remainder of the school year before accepting a teaching position as a 7th grade autism teacher.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity but it was undoubtedly a tough year, which ultimately made me question my career, my goals, and my passions.

Fast forward to today since I’ve already shared my decision to switch careers (twice) to find my right fit…  I finished my background story by sharing with him that I’m currently subbing, working a part-time event planning job, studying for my VA special ed and elementary ed teaching licenses, studying for the GRE, and applying to graduate schools.

Once I finished talking the first word out of his mouth was “WOW!” which made me immediately start to regret sharing so much with him.  But then he continued…

I don’t know how you juggle so many things at once.  But from the sounds of it, you’ve successfully done it for years.  Your background is so diverse and rich, exactly what I look for when I’m hiring teachers.  I think it’s great that some people go to college knowing that they want to teach and immediately start after graduating, but I also appreciate those who take the time to explore.  Whether it’s traveling the world or exploring other opportunities, a life full of experiences is a rich life.  Experiences teach you about yourself and let you learn what you truly want.

You have a full plate, your plans are ambitious, but I think that you’re capable of doing whatever you decide – no one path is right for everyone.  Just one thing, be sure to make time for yourself and your husband – you’ll need it whether you’re tackling your first year teaching in a general education classroom and/or if you’re in grad school.

This guy knew me for all of 30 minutes but I felt like he knew me for much longer.  I didn’t walk into the meeting with any intentions of receiving a job offer, but I was hoping that he would have some advice and insight for me and he definitely did.

I’ve always struggled finding a balance between pushing myself to do as much as possible and relaxing.  For as long as I can remember I’ve had a full plate – something that I don’t mind, but leaves little room for “me” time.  Growing up I played on multiple year-round sports teams.  I started working in middle school and continued working every summer (and college winter breaks) since.  Throughout college I was in the residence housing association, joined a sorority, and was part of a service fraternity.  And since graduating, I’ve been working full-time jobs.

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Thankfully, Ryan has helped me to realize over the years that I don’t need to have everything figured out all of the time, not everything can be or will be perfect, and having a day of relaxation doesn’t equal laziness.  I’ll never forget the first time we met with the reverend (also a good family friend who knew me since I was only a few months old) and she asked us to describe our relationship.  Without hesitation Ryan blurted out “Allison speeds me up and I slow her down.”  He was exactly right and it’s something that makes our relationship stay balanced.

Right now I’m taking it day by day, studying and outlining grad school apps, plus working two part-time jobs.  Some days I am perfectly content with my current life and other days I feel anxious.  It’s different staying home and not sitting at a desk working on a specific task for someone else.  I still have no idea what I’ll decide to do next year, but I don’t doubt that I’ll have a full plate.

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Question:  Do you tend to have a full plate?

Question:  Speaking of plates…  I’ve had a big craving for roasted chicken so I wanna roast my first whole chicken but I don’t know how to do it.  Do you have any tips or tricks?  Leave a link to your favorite recipe!  I roast our Thanksgiving turkey every year so I’d imagine that it’s similar?

— Allison

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Whatcha Think?

  1. you are a busy lady! But I sometimes think being busy is good, just make sure you make time for yourself, husband, family and friends. But I think you will have no problem doing that!

    I LOVE roasting chickens! I always cut up sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash, put it in the bottom of the pan. I put my chicken in the middle of it all. Do a little olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice and I through the lemons in the chicken after I squeeze them over top. Then you will have to google how long to roast for because it depends on how many lbs it is.

    • I’d rather be busy than bored, but being too busy without any time for family or friends is never fun… My momma makes an awesome dish at Thanksgiving using roasted sweet potatoes + carrots + butternut squash (she purees them after they’re all cooked), it’s so good! And I can only imagine that they’d be great with roasted chicken too!

  2. You are so busy, but that’s exactly how I thrive. I struggle when I don’t have a million things going on, and that’s how it’s always been for me, too. I have no idea how to roast a chicken haha Sorry I can’t help!

  3. Oh man I can relate to this SO MUCH. This semester I’m the busiest I’ve ever been, but it really doesn’t feel like that. I just take things day by day and I’m happier than I’ve been in years too. Making sure we have time for ourselves and for our families is the most important thing, but if you’re happy on your toes running around, then keep doing what you’re doing. Some of us work better with a “full plate” and I’ve come to realize that there is nothing wrong with that.

  4. YES YES YES! I love this, you are so much further along in life than you give yourself credit for!! You have accomplished so much, and it’s amazing when complete strangers can see it!! I think you are on the PERFECT path right now!! I love having a full plate, it makes me feel so much more worthy of my days! HA!

    • Thanks Brittany! I still feel so young and new to it all, until I realize that I’m 24-years old, married, have a dog, talking about kids in the future, and dreaming of someday buying a house. Time passes so quickly!

  5. I like to keep my plate about 3/4 full. I thrive on being busy and having lots to do, but I can easily work myself into the ground if I don’t make a conscious effort to relax — it’s all about finding the balance that works best for you. You seem to be on such a good path, though, with an amazing amount of experience and history. This life thing? You got this ;)

    • I’d say that’s a good fraction to keep full ;) I don’t mind running around to various things, as long as I still have time to see my family and friends… And squeeze in a workout because those times are the few times that I zone out completely and let my mind wander.

  6. Great post lovely! I definitely have a full plate all the time but it’s very much my own doing. I tend to be a compulsive planning so I fill every second of my day with something. It can be exhausting at times. I’m trying to let go of the reigns a little bit these days and just see what happens. I haven’t spontaneously combusted so I’d say so far so good :)

    • You sound just like me… With my color coded planner, ha! I’ve gotten better over the years (with help from Ryan) but my schedule is definitely still busy – as you can tell ;)

  7. What a great and productive meeting!

    I am another one who works much better when my plate is full. It’s sometimes hard to find the balance, but I make it work, somehow.

    I don’t roast chickens very often, but when I do, I do it very simply – some olive oil, ground pepper and sea salt, maybe a little white wine, and I stuff the cavity with aromatics and a lemon. Bon appetit.

  8. A full plate for the most time keeps me happy, like you said, but other times it’s overwhelming and I just wish it was empty! I think it’s awesome that you are deciding to go for your Master’s! Mind I ask in what? I went to Undergrad for 1-6 Special Education and now I am pursuing my master’s in Literacy, which I highly recommend for you if you plan on teaching elementary school level!

    • I majored in severe special education as an undergrad and with that I’m certified to teach students ages 3-21 with mild, moderate, or severe disabilities. I’ d like to get a master’s in elementary ed so I can teach both general ed and special ed!

  9. I totally hear ya on the full plate… I’m feeling that way lately too with work & school, plus trying to keep the blog up & wanting to have a social life. Oy. Some days I just wanna cry, but I guess that’s just life. I’m glad you got some great advice & it sounds like the principal had great insight! Glad you have a husband who slows you down a bit, like my husband helps stabilize my brand of crazy, haha. :)

  10. that’s like me and my husband. We need each other to balance out! so glad ryan is there for you! hope you get some slow down soon friend.

  11. Oh man, I couldn’t relate to this post more. Although our paths have been different, it sounds like we have similar tendencies – starting in middle school, I too, just hit “GO” and was full speed all through high school, college, business school, and beyond. I consistently have the habit of taking on as much as I can possibly handle (and more), and it can make even enjoyable activities less fun because I’m so busy and stressed! My husband has REALLY helped me with this, because he was getting so frustrated with my habits. It’s a work in progress, but I’m DEFINITELY getting better! Thanks for the post!

  12. That must have been the best feeling ever to have that principal say those sweet words to you! You are definitely a busy woman and I totally admire your courage to go after your dreams and chase what you want, even if it’s the harder decision.

    • Thanks Alisha! It definitely hasn’t been the smoothest ride getting to where I am today, but I’m thankful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had and I’ve learned something different from each of them!

  13. I’m guilty of chronically overscheduling. I thrive off of schedule and productivity, but it’s a fine line between busy and flat out insane. For me I need to remind myself that I’m not defined by how busy I am– the number of hours I work per week, the amount of time spent volunteering, the place I go or the things I do. It’s OKAY to have a day on my calendar with NOTHING on it. Gasp. Whew. :)

    • It took me a long time to appreciate days without any plans. I used to feel lazy and would start listing off things that I could be doing… But I’ve now come to appreciate and love those days!

  14. Roasting a chicken couldn’t be easier. Just plop it in the oven! You can put salt pepper and spices on it as well as some butter first….you need a thermometer. 165 is the magic number, in the thickest part of the thigh. Mine usually takes 90 minutes to two hours,

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