As I wondered and wrestled and read and reread the letter, something began to stand out from it: among the similar majors that the form letter submitted for my consideration was one called “Arts Administration.”
When I looked it up on the school’s website, I noticed how many of the courses were things that I would probably need when I opened a studio, but I probably would not have thought to take. Courses like Accounting, and Marketing the Arts.
So after some consideration (probably not as much as there should have been, but it seems to have been enough), I went to college to study Administration.
From the beginning, it was fairly clear that I was where I was supposed to be. Little things, like the way that one professor said “If you are allergic to large amounts of sarcasm, this is not the class for you.” (When I graduated three years later, he was still my favorite professor.) [About 30 seconds after writing the above, I may or may not have started to cry a little, wishing I could have another class with him. Or, you know, five thousand of them.]
But there were other things too Like the fact that one of my “Music Administration” assignments was to create a music-based organization from scratch. I now have the essential documents (mission statement, vision statement, sample budget, etc) for my studio. They’ll need to be refined and adjusted for the specific situation I’ll be in, of course, but they’re basically ready to go. I would NEVER have taken that class if it hadn’t been required for me to graduate. But because it was, I have my studio practically all planned out.
So things went fairly well for me at school. Then I graduated, and had to start looking for a job.
I knew that I was going to need two jobs if I was going to teach, because teaching is a part time job. Unfortunately for me, all of the studios around had already planned their class schedules, and assigned all their classes to teachers. To make matters worse, most were also closed for the summer, so I couldn’t even get ahold of them. At my mother’s suggestion, I started to cast my net a little farther. I had hoped to return to the city I grew up in and live there, but I sent resumes to studios in areas several hours away, just to see what would happen.
I kept taking resumes to local studios, though. One day, about the beginning of July, I noticed a studio I hadn’t seen before, tucked back away from the main road. So I took over a resume, thinking to tuck it into their mailbox. To my surprise, the director was there getting ready for her last summer session.
She said that she didn’t need any teachers, but that’s she’d be happy to put me on the list as a sub.
“Actually, one of my teachers just told me that she wouldn’t be able to teach one of her classes during this coming summer session. Would you be interested in taking that class?”
I agreed, of course. It was only a four week class, but it was better than nothing.
As I was starting to prepare for this class, I received an email. One of the studios about five hours away was interested in having me teach for them. This news set off another flutter of “what now?”s. It had been weeks since I had sent the email; I had thought that way was closed. But was it really open after all?
When I had a chance to talk to the lady a few weeks later, I started to get really excited. This woman was going many of the things that I had wanted to do with my own studio. Here was a chance to do them now, rather than waiting another ten or fifteen years.
I knew that if I were to make that move, I would need a place to live, and enough other income that I could afford to live there. Both things would be hard to find from where I currently was.
A friend’s family (the same friend that I had met at Nutcracker, actually) happened to share a vacation condo with some others. None of them were using it, so they offered to let me use it if my friend came with me on my scouting trip. So off we went.
The director had me teach a class for her to see, and she offered me a job. So did one of the other places I applied to. But as I was crunching numbers, it became apparent that I would, in fact, need a third job if I were to meet all the expenses of living on my own.
Several other places that I had interviewed with said they would get back to me, so I went home without a definite answer.
Just before I made the trip, I had sort of accidentally gotten a job offer. I had deferred, since I wasn’t sure if I’d be staying in town. I set August First as the date that I would have a final answer.
That date drew near, and I had not heard back from anyone in the other area. So I called the people who had offered me jobs in both areas, and told them that I would be staying where I was. And I came to terms with the fact that I would not be doing much teaching over the coming year.
A few days after I decided to stay, I got a text from one of the owners who said he would get back to me:
“Hey, I was wondering if you were still thinking of moving over here.”
“No, sorry. As I was looking at it, the money just wouldn’t have added up.”
“Okay. I wanted to give you a chance to figure out what you’d do before I bothered you about it.”
I stared at my screen for a few minutes. You realize, YOU could have been the factor that would tip the scales. If you hadn’t “not wanted to bother me,” you could have made it possible for me to move.
I was a little frustrated… okay, I was a lot frustrated. But I had heard enough stories of doors being shut in very strange ways to recognize that this was definitely God’s leading. So I gave in and decided to enjoy being where I was, even if it meant that I wouldn’t be able to teach for at least a year.