Existential Crisis: Part One

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It’s less than a month till internship begins, and I’ve already had my first pre-term freak out. Last Friday, I came home from meeting with my CTs (cooperating teachers), aka the people who control my placement fate with the click of their mouse, and spent the twenty minutes in traffic as well as the two days following worrying that I was in the wrong degree.

Now after nearly four years of “fun” university times and a growing HECS debt you would think I’d be sure. However, last year, I was sitting in one of my education classes googling a social work transfer because I was certain I would screw up some poor kid’s education. In second year, I cried the first weekend of placement thinking I was going to be a terrible teacher. The first day of teaching in third year, I nearly broke down when my CT gave me mostly positive feedback because I was so sure I’d have blank stares from pubescent teens.

Most of my worry is borne from fear that I’m academically gifted at “knowing” education, rather than able to practically apply those skills. The fancy education terms for that is theory versus pedagogy, with the combination of the two being called praxis (see what I mean?). And the spacing between bouts of placement is so large that regardless of how poor or well I performed, I begin to doubt my ability to actually teach.

So how do I deal with such huge doubts about a massive milestone such as lifetime career?

..Prayer and perspective..

Firstly, no matter whether I’m being a stress head over an assignment, work, eating well or placement; I try and put all those anxieties onto Christ:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

~Philippians 4:6

 Don’t get me wrong, this is hard, and sometimes it’s not until I’m laying awake at 3 am with my brain churning that I actually do this. This is why I have this passage written above my planner on my door, I’m reminded that in every situation God has power–to comfort, to take away and to teach in the face of anxieties. Through His son we’ve been given this amazing relationship where our Father in heaven will listen (Romans 5:1-9; 1 Chronicles 5:20; Psalm 102:17) . He’s the perfect shoulder to cry on, and I know he will always be listening.

Secondly, PERSPECTIVE. God has predestined a life for me. He knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). This guy knows what He is going to use me for whether it be a teacher, or a pauper on the street. Not only this, but He’s already given me a future, so much bigger than any career I end up in (SPOILER ALERT: eternal life). The crux of knowing this, is it requires a deep trust, which is hard when you’ve spent years focusing on “what I’m going to be when I grow up.” This is why praying is essential. It’s hard to trust when you aren’t willing to share.

It’s safe to say I’m over the “existential crisis” of last weekend after sitting down and being reminded of this (again) in Ecclesiastes (Chapter 1-12) where God is ever present but forever trustworthy in the face of worldly pursuits like my degree and career as a teacher. I’m hoping that I can latch on and continue embracing perspective during internship especially when the craziness reaches its roller-coaster lows.

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