I have exciting news, friends! In a few short months, Mark and I will wrap up our adventure in New Zealand and head home to the States whereupon we’ll be moving to…
That’s right folks, we’re heading to The Big Easy! Neither of us has ever been to NOLA but moving somewhere sight unseen seems to be our M.O. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the city and are looking forward to experiencing it all. If you’ve been, I would love to hear what your favorite things to do/see/eat are!
Why New Orleans? Well before moving to New Zealand Mark made me a deal that since he chose NZ, I get to choose the next place we live. He can get a job virtually anywhere so the world was my oyster. Pretty sweet deal, eh?
And while I can’t top New Zealand (wouldn’t even try) it has been a long-held goal of mine to pursue a Masters degree, so what better time than now?
I searched high and low for the right program and after checking all the boxes to apply, I am delighted to share that I’ve been accepted to my dream program at Tulane!
In the Fall of 2017, I will begin a Masters within the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. Ultimately, I want to work in post-disaster reconstruction. What does that mean? Well essentially (and eventually), I’m going to rebuild communities affected by disasters – natural or manmade. I absolutely love building homes for people and there’s never a more critical time for the security and belonging a home provides than following a disaster.
Going back to school has been a long time in the making and to say I’m excited is an understatement (I’m also nervous but that’s normal, right??). I can trace my interest in this field back to nearly a decade ago when I saw a presentation by an urban planning professor about his involvement with rebuilding New Orleans post-Katrina. Something inside clicked and I decided to pursue a career in construction. It’s rather poetic that I’ll be studying in the same city that sparked my interest in the field.
After 6 years working in the construction industry, where I worked with incredibly talented people to build beautiful homes like this
and went to Haiti a couple times with my colleagues to build homes for families affected by the 2010 earthquake and subsequent mudslides
I am looking forward to finally going back to school.
Applying to graduate school is a tedious process under normal circumstances and even more so when applying from the bottom of the world. I am forever grateful to a bunch of people who helped me apply and I’d be remiss not to give them a shout out.
First and foremost, I am beyond grateful to Mark and his unending patience and unwavering support as I second and triple-guessed myself over every step of this process. Not just the applying part, but the million “what if I don’t get in” scenarios I subjected him to. If I don’t get in, maybe we could move to Thailand! Telemedicine is a thing, yeah? or If I don’t get in, I’ve heard Austin is a cool city. and Hey, we have friends in Seattle… maybe we should follow them there.
Madison, you are my hero for schlepping 20 lbs worth of GRE study books halfway around the world. (That’s not an exaggeration, one of the books weighed 5lbs alone.) Thanks to you I re-learned how to find the area of a parallelogram…and then promptly forgot, but I knew how when I needed to and that’s what matters.
To Jon & Henry, Carli (and her brood), and my siblings – thank you for helping to break up the monotony of studying for the GRE with dance breaks conducted over FaceTime. We’d simply put on a song and dance our booties off together across continents, oceans, and multiple time zones. Seriously my favorite thing ever.
Thank you, Yevy, for reading and critiquing my statement of purpose. You are a gifted editor and my writing improves with every stroke of your proverbial red pen. I can’t wait for the PJMY + J reunion in NOLA next year!
Giant thanks to Craig, Patrick, and Randy for writing and mailing letters of recommendation on my behalf to my BFF Laura. I don’t know what you wrote but it did the trick!
Laura, thank you for collecting all of the requisite items and assembling them into presentation-worthy order for submission. You’re the only person I know who has special resume paper on-hand and I love you for it.
I am grateful to Jen for her obsessive mailbox checking while we awaited a decision. I think we were equally relieved and excited when the favorable answer came back.
Lastly, a huge thanks to my mother. Without her, I’d be nothing.
Now, who’s coming for Mardi Gras in 2018!?