The next part of this story finds me living in South Baltimore, a neighborhood just south of Federal Hill. To put it simply, life was great. I was enjoying school, doing interesting projects at my assistantship, meeting tons of new people, and loving this city more than any other place I’ve lived.
May of 2010, my second to last semester of grad school was complete. I felt this was as good a time as any to celebrate with a trip to Ireland. A friend from my program and I spent 11 days there, staying in Dublin city and exploring the county as far north and south as we could via the DART train.
My first experience in a hostel hooked me for life. I met amazing people many of whom I still keep in contact with today via Facebook. When I returned home, I felt much like the time I returned home from Spain: depressed. The flame was rekindled and I yet again began scheming my big move.
Through my assistantship, I really took a shine to public health. What better way to get abroad than a degree program? I started my applications to the London School of Hygiene, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Dublin. Everything was in order, when for some reason, it all fell through. I honestly can’t remember why anymore, but it was certainly a blessing in disguise.
Flash forward: graduation in December 2010. My assistantship turned into a full-time contract position as a Research Associate with a full-time salary to boot. I felt like a real adult. An adult who could actually save enough to have more than $100 in her bank account at one time. 2011 saw me traveling to Vancouver, BC for work, and my first solo backpacking jaunt later that year in October to Iceland, Holland, and Germany.
The next year, I was “promoted” to a contract Epidemiologist. Although I was in an extremely hellacious living situation that year, there was a shining light; I managed to save a ton. With that money, I made the leap into homeownership – a short sale property whose settlement was drawn out over 4 months. Right before closing, which was slated for the end of May, I celebrated the conclusion of a nerve-wracking process with a trip trekking around Costa Rica for 10 days. To add a cherry to the top of the 2012 year, I spent two weeks in Iceland, Scotland, England, and Wales (easily my best trip yet) that November with a good friend from WVU.
By all “normal” standards, I was living the American dream. I had a great job, new home, and money to travel. Things were going well.
Then the quarter-life crisis hit. Melodramatic? Maybe. But, I’m telling you, people – this was/is a very real thing for me. And I plan to get into it in my next post.