The most complex project I ever took on was pursuing a job as a flight attendant for American Airlines. I remember arriving at the Dallas Airport shocked that I flew to an unfamiliar place alone, and would be staying for 6.5 weeks to pursue a job I knew absolutely nothing about. It seemed like the entire hiring process just happened so fast, that I didn’t really have time to contemplate what was going on. Rather, I placed my reservations aside, and pushed myself to do the unthinkable. Only two weeks before training was over, I found out that I would be based in Miami. I remember calling my mom from my hotel room balcony, choking back the tears, and asking her to please pack up any clothes and appliances she found of mine, so that they could be shipped to my new base. I didn’t know when I could return home, because I would have to start the job and find a place to live in Miami within 5 days after training ended. While I was excited, I was completely overwhelmed, and was not sure how to react to what was happening. Thinking back, I realize that I never could have found a place in time or pursued that lifestyle without my mom’s love, help, and support.  She packed up all my things and arranged to have my car transported to Miami. Not only that, but she reassured me every time I felt like giving up that everything would be ok. If the flight attendant thing didn’t work out, I was always welcome back home in Pennsylvania.  Her gentle words and attitude mirrored that of the blessed mother. Like the blessed mother, she possessed an unconditional welcome and continual loving support for a child with big plans.

All-in-all, the flight attendant training program turned out to be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding times of my life. I learned life-saving skills that I will carry with me forever, For example, I learned CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, how to deliver a baby, how to put out a fire, basic self-defense tactics, how to evacuate an airplane, how to construct a raft, how to navigate an airport, etc. Because the program was designed to adjust our bodies to unpredictable schedules, my fellow trainees and I had to wake up at 4 A.M. most days to be to class for 6 A.M. I remember being so tired for class, but thinking: “There has got to be a reason for all this.” I put my trust in God, and kept going.

All-in-all, working as a flight attendant for a year made me a stronger, more cultured person. Living in a crash pad with 5 other girls in Miami was comparable to a college experience, which was something I never had in Pennsylvania because I always commuted to college from home. Through it, I made some of my craziest memories and was introduced to some of my best, life-long friends. Aside from the fun, it taught me responsibility, as I made sure that our bills were always paid on time and that everyone who inquired about the apartment, signed the lease.

Looking back, being a flight attendant is something I would never trade. It played a huge role in shaping the person I am today. Like I mentioned before, the entire experience fell into place so quickly that I never had time to contemplate if what I was doing was the right. After a year of pursuing the job, and a lot of silent prayer in the jumpseat, I realized that I should pursue a more intellectually stimulating and stable career. If I wanted to someday have the family I always dreamed of, I would need to find a position with a more predictable schedule. Also, I knew I wanted to continue my education, but was not sure when. After being accepted and offered a graduate assistantship that would significantly decrease the price of tuition at Bloomsburg University, I knew it was time to end my job with as a flight attendant.

If I could go back, I would have pursued my MBA upon graduation in 2015 and applied to be a flight attendant after that. I loved the job, but felt like the timing for it was wrong. I don’t know what the future will hold, but my hopes are to secure an administrative position with American after completing my graduate degree. If so, I will need to make sure I have the proper support system and plan in place. I am so thankful for what my family, especially my mom, sacrificed to help me live out my dream. However, I would like my next endeavor to be a little more planned out and not as spontaneous and stressful to the ones I love.