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So You Made The Decision…. Now What?

Kayla


by Kayla

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Am I Really Doing This?:

I’ve always found a reason to stay pretty close to home; for undergrad I only strayed about 45 minutes down the 210 (including the time added on by traffic) and then I thought I was really stepping out on my own when I moved to LA for grad school at USC. So with that background information, you can imagine the shock that my family and friends felt when I said the words, “I’m moving to Chicago.” I had a hard time wrapping my head around the reality of the decision I had just made as well. Truth be told, I was in denial for a while, but after the denial came acceptance…..then came stress.

Feeling All The Feels:

Stress. It doesn’t discriminate between positive and negative things, it just happens. So while I was excited that it was almost time to actually set off to Chicago, my mind was constantly racing thinking about all of the things that I still needed to plan/organize/do.

Anxiety. It can happen even if we can rationally think through our problems, sometimes that alone just isn’t enough. The OTD program follows a traditional schedule, beginning in late August; I was not set to start the clinical portion of the program until September 20th! And while I knew that the program is designed to be flexible to these very situations, I was worried that I was somehow falling behind. I had to remind myself that this is MY journey and that comparison is nothing but the thief of joy.

During this phase, I really had to believe that everything would come together, be confident that I was prepared to handle the changes coming my way, and more than anything remember the reasons why I decided to complete the OTD.

Strength in Goodbyes:

As the time came closer for me to load up a moving truck and drive across the country, I started reflecting on all of the reasons WHY I stayed so close to home for so long. The two most prominent being my family (including my two nephews that I absolutely adore) and the remarkable group of people I get to call my friends. I made sure to be intentional about spending time with my loved ones (and eating as much delicious California food as possible) before I left. The love and support they poured into me made it so clear that no matter where I went, or how far I was, I would not be going through this year alone.

Lunch in Santa Monica with Guarina

Lunch in Santa Monica with Guarina

A polaroid with my classmates, Kim and Alex

A polaroid with my classmates, Kim and Alex

No Turning Back:

2,000 miles, 35 hours, 7 states, 3 days, and 2 AMAZING parents that dropped everything to traverse the country with me in a moving van. As we put more miles behind us and got closer to Illinois everything became real and (despite a quick moment of apprehension somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma) I finally felt ready.

Last day of our road trip!

Last day of our road trip!

I wanted to share this with you all because I know that this is the time when you are making some pretty big decisions about your future and it can feel like there are so many unknowns ahead of you. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far in this experience is to not let that stop you from taking a chance on yourself. As deadlines are approaching keep that in mind, because you never know, it might be turn out to be everything you hoped for, good luck!

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