It all comes down to this: me sitting on a bench with my legs crossed wearing red (my sassy color) and this smile of mine that people tell me radiates my genuineness….and here I go.
I walk into a room to shake the hands of two well-known faculty members and this is my chance to prove myself. Who am I? What is about Mason that attracts me, and why this program? And my weakness, not just any weakness my “personal/professional weakness.”
To my left sits the man making the decision. Then a girl, a little younger than me, freshly out of undergrad. Next to her, a kind man, he’s a veteran, quiet but bold. There’s a woman who I’m impressed with (seriously..I would choose her for the program before I’d choose myself.) Then there’s her. The woman making the decision, and oh my word, she is gorgeous, inside and out…I want to be here when I grow up! Next to her is a young man with a heart as big as mine, his voice though, not as big as mine… define that for yourselves my darlings. And another sweet girl, she’s still in undergrad but is so ready to be here (I say that like I’m already here…oh gosh I could really be in for a heartbreak…). My “competition,” these five, but oh how I wish that instead they were my colleagues. We have something in common us “born counselors”: passionate hearts that dream big– we will change the world. We will.
…and that’s who I am…a passionate dreamer. Little do they know, my dreams WILL become a reality.
My name is Nicole Paullin. I have a passionate heart that dreams big. I want to redefine success, my own success included. I spent 8 years in youth ministry and took the last year off from life to travel and redefine my own life. It all comes down to this moment…
My heart cries for the generation of today. If there is any program that is going to help me make an impact, it’s this one. I need to be here–it’s not a want, or desire. I NEED to be here. So here I am.
Mason’s passion to seek social justice, to take social action–THAT is what I am about. “This” is at the core of my calling. Social justice isn’t just seeking equality for immigrants or homosexuals. <–and yes friends, I’m speaking out about my liberalism….ps. I voted for Obama (TWICE!)…no darlings I did not add this footnote to my answer….because Big Sister, I know you just gasped…
In a school setting, there are too many injustices. Sitting in my youth ministry chair, I felt limited. <–yes darlings, it’s all coming together. I heard about the kids who sat alone at lunch tables because they were “tards” that had b.o. INJUSTICE-BAM! I heard about kids who were denied a place on the team because their parents weren’t involved enough. INJUSTICE-BAM! and… I
saw tragedy,experienced tragedy as students, children, took their own lives because they were overwhelmed…overwhelmed because of academics, 6 AP classes, overwhelmed because of soccer, chess club, pressure to have sex, pressure to want sex, pressure to be straight, pressure to come out, pressure, pressure, pressure… to succeed. And this is our chance to redefine success, with JUSTICE for these that are oppressed! <–these are just a few of my words. Here are others.
‘So Nicole, why counseling and not pastoring?’
Because Dr. “Woman,” I’ve done that already..and while I succeeded at redefining success for many of my students, I want to go on to make an even bigger impact. I don’t want to be held back. <–and not that anyone has ever held my back in any of my previous positions, it’s the title…. So here I am. I want to work with other oppressed that make up the great population of Northern Virginia. We live in one of the richest counties in the country and what are we doing with these resources?? How are we using this privilege to help the underprivileged? What can I–one person do in a private entity with 600 members? I dream big… I need big, not better, but better for me and for this heart of mine….
My weakness is my empathy. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that’s what chased me out of ministry. Though I had help from my mentors, when it came to setting boundaries, it became extremely unhealthy–never for my students or their families, but for me and my family. I took on their problems as my own– I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I can’t fix everyone. It took me a year to realize that…and again, it comes down to this moment. This moment where I can be completely honest with you, Dr. “Man” and you Dr. “Woman” to say, it’s scary getting back into this field that I know I’m called back to. We can’t fix everyone, but if we can fix one, we’ve won. Here’s the thing, Dr.’s, I’m on a mission to work myself out of a job, I know it’s not going to happen overnight, and in reality most likely not in my lifetime. But, if I have the opportunity to change one life, just one, I’ve succeeded, and so have they.
So choose me, dammit! I want this. I’ve drank myself to the floor and traveled across the country this year. I’ve journeyed through my heart, wrestled with my faith, loved, lost, gained…and now it’s time to win. CHOOSE ME! it comes down to this moment…and the next four weeks as the admissions board continues to interview…
Only 50% of all applicants were fortunate enough to even be interviewed. Only 25 of those will be admitted to the program for School Counseling. 25. 25, that’s like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… yeah, 25. And my Lord, I pray, please let me be one of those….
Thanks for your prayers sweet friends. Thanks Rob, Michelle, and Dr. Ramsey for your recommendations that have brought me this far…honestly, it wasn’t just your recommendations, it was your teachings, your belief in me, and Sharon too. And Mom and Dad–I don’t want to let you down, but I’m still scared. I take peace in knowing that you have defined success for me in showing me that I’ve already made you proud.
I love you all. Thanks for being a part of this journey to redefine my own success. Stay tuned though, because I have faith that together, we’ll redefine success in others too….
behold Him and live blessed my darlings!
ps. have to share some of my favorite texts of encouragement.
J- “Nic, you’ll be FINE. Just do what I told you to do and take a shot before you go in. If that doesn’t work, tell them about your unhealthy obsession with Michael Phelps.”
C- “Will say a prayer but you know you rock. Just be your warm loving self. Can’t wait to hear how great it went.”
M- “Good luck today, Sister! I know you will rock it!”
J- “We are on the slopes-literally. Ryan and I just stopped to pray on the snow. Good luck! May God give you peace and calm and clear answers.”
P- “Thinking about you and praying for you this morning. Let me know how it goes!”
K- “I hope your interview goes well. You’ll nail it! After all, you ARE a Paullin.”
H & S- “PRAYING!!!!!!!!!!”
T- “You’ve got this girrrrrrl! They will fall in love with you within 5 seconds!”
Hey! It feels so good to be loved. And I love you too. But friends, God loves you more. He’s on our side.