Life beyond JVC?

(Posted September 27, 2010)

have i ever mentioned how much i love mail?  i got a postcard from puerto rico and a letter from jamaica in the SAME day last week!  it is so wonderful to hear from so many friends the “old-fashioned” way and it has become a bit of a running joke in the house that i get mail all the time.. “alex, you got mail. surprise, surprise.”  but i must say, each letter and package is such a gift and a lovely reminder of all the support i have from so many places.

last week was busy at SOLV, gearing up for the beach and riverside cleanup this past saturday but green team was super busy with in-school classroom presentations on watershed restoration.  i did my first school this past thursday and it was quite a success though high schoolers seem to be getting smaller and smaller these days and are constantly glued to more expensive smartphones than i will ever have.  i had some really responsive and great students on my first day out, mainly freshman biology classes at a catholic high school.  (no uniforms.. lucky.)  the week was filled with presentation prep and meetings at solv and i have really come to enjoy those times i spend in the classroom and out in the field as i feel much more comfortable, hands-on, effective and earthy-crunchy being outside.  i continue presentations this week, with at least one different school every day and we will start work in the field next monday.  really excited to meet the middle schoolers and elementary school eco-club i will be working with!  do second graders even know the water cycle yet?

even in just this short time spent with students and chatting with friends who are currently in a teaching experience (liz, marisa) it has really made me consider teaching as a profession.  though i’m not sure at all that this is what i want to pursue, i have realized that i miss the classroom and the schedule of school.. so school of some form will be in my future.  whether its going back to school to get my master’s in global public health or natural resource management or teaching at a low income urban school or getting my teaching degree for environmental sciences, school has become a part of me, whether i like it or not!

i also had a really enlightening chat with my coworker abby this friday evening on the MAX as we bumped into each other on the ride into portland.  she just defended her masters at oregon state university in water resources policy and management; she is the new program manager for the team up for watershed health section of SOLV.  she has a water blog that i covet and is just a fascinating person to talk to; she spent a part of last year working in india and has an incredible knowledge of all things water.  she and i chatted for the better part of my MAX ride and she really got me thinking about where i want to head after this year.  i feel like i could be pulled in a million different directions but her passion for global water equality and health really got me motivated to start considering the coming year(s) not as a daunting unknown but as a unique and wonderful opportunity for travel or schooling or anything else i might want to do.

its hard to believe i’m already fielding the question, “so what are you going to be doing after this year is over?”  i’m not sure where i’m headed but i have a lot of really great ideas to unwrap and resources to tap into in the coming months.

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