“You’ve got a great paying job, and you’re a graduate of a great university. Uh-huh. But there comes a time when you ask yourself, ‘Who are you? Really?’ ”
“My favorite quote from Professor Edith Spain is this: ‘Early childhood teaching absolutely is rocket science. And never let anyone tell you differently!’” said Jessica Thomas with a warm, fond laugh. “I just adore Edie, because she’s a complete advocate for children’s rights. And she’s brilliant. I know that going into this field won’t pay beans,” says Jessica, “but sometimes you just have to identify what it is you truly love.” At one point in her life, Jessica thought that what she loved was playing on the world stage.
“I’d been to SMC as a junior in high school. Then I went to Georgetown and graduated from there. It was a wonderful time, and I actually got to serve an internship for the Council of Baltic Sea States in Sweden.” There quickly followed many other honors, high-profile positions, and accolades in Jessica’s life. But there was a nagging feeling in her heart that something was profoundly askew in her life. “I was good in those high-powered positions that were offered to me. But I just didn’t really care deeply about that. I simply wanted to be doing work that felt fulfilling. And I realized that teaching was the most valuable thing I could do with my life.”
So Jessica has now come full circle back to SMC, and has achieved an honesty—in her career and in her heart—that few of us will ever get to know. Mastering English Lit and Russian now seems to her almost insignificant. “Knowing yourself sometimes just takes years. I had a friend who called and asked me to come up to speak to her graduating high school class. And I told the students that they had to be brave, and not simply do what others expected them to do. Look deep within yourself, and sometimes you will find what the promise of life is all about.”