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depressed with job/living situation.. (stuck to a year contract (Chicago area))

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by ryan morris, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I recently moved 6 hours away from all family and friends (St. Louis to North of Chicago) to take a job teaching art in a high school. I was apprehensive to take the job in the first place but thought that I "needed" it.

    The School:
    -Failed AYP for the last 7 years
    -Has been through 7 principles in the last 6 years
    -#1 in IL for truancy!!!!
    -Packed classes at 35 students in a small "art" room
    -TERRIBLE administration (if you could even call them that (I could throw out specific examples for anyone that thinks that's not as factual as the other points))
    -Gang and drug problems daily

    The Town:
    -I live downtown where I thought it would be a cool place to live as a hip single male in my mid/late twenties... Not at all.
    -Large Hispanic population that the Downtown seems to neglect in all of their planning.. (thus the downtown FAILS!)
    -North Chicago Suburb with not much happening
    -No close (within 15 minutes) access to anyplace to meet other singles
    -1 hour to Chicago or Milwaukee
    -The town is as much of a mess as the school

    -I've got nobody up here
    -I don't like to meet people in bars.. but would go to bars with people that I meet
    -I am into art but there's nothing around
    -My instinct is to fly.. but I'm signed to a year contract (10 more months to apartment, 8 more months teaching)
    -I have lost all motivation to do anything beyond trying to help students out/write lesson plans.. So I don't do music, art, exercise.. etc..
    -My car isn't dependable enough to drive to the city.. and using the CTA/Metra system would take hours to get to certain places.
    -I'd like to meet some friends (and a lady friend) but don't really meet people at the school because I'm really just surrounded by students all day.
    -I'm still recovering (financially) from the move up here.. (I'll probably be good in the next month)
    -The idea of going back to school for my Masters of Fine Arts is one of the few things keeping me going.


    I'm considering starting some little bulletin boards around my apartment/condo building. I never see the people that live in the building so that may be a start. I'm also thinking about starting a singles club at the school.. Is that silly or what?

    I just don't know. I feel like I'm going crazy though. I'm losing more people skills as the days continue.. ha.

    I've just never been this depressed with life before. I thought I'd be doing so much more and I feel like I've made a terrible decision coming up here.
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Sounds like you already have some ideas and are thinking about taking charge of the situation - that at least is better than just wringing your hands and wishing something would change without you doing anything to make it happen. Then there's always the internet if you want to meet people or set up dates. Why not?

    I think you have to remember that whatever it is, it's only one year and during that year you can get some valuable school experience and think about where you want to be next.

    Also remember that it's often fairly easy to look very good at what you do in a struggling school. If you achieve even the most modest positive things you will be seen as a total professional. And art is a great medium for getting kids into something that they regard as their own thing.

    Best of luck - I have a hunch that you'll be rising to this challenge over the next few months.
  3. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
    Whats the name of the town your in? Theres got to be a TB'er that knows it and mabey you can hook up and he or she can :help:.
  4. Hawaii Islander

    Hawaii Islander Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Rio Rico, AZ

    Keep in mind, you are not alone. There are probably many people in your situatation (or similar). Don't be afraid to say hello. The first contact is always the most difficult, but once you get to know one person, the rest tends to fall into place. I used to go through a similar feeling whenever I got a new duty assignment in the Air Force.

    Good luck!
  5. ryan morris

    ryan morris

    Sep 11, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks guys.

    Waukegan, IL is the actual town.

    I guess it's not that I've met no one (there are the other 5 art teachers, a couple industrial technology teachers.. etc..) but everyone that I've met lives at least 30 minutes away and they're 20-40 years older with families.

    I think it's really just the combination of all of the things together (dissatisfied with work, living situation, having no family or friends, feeling "stuck" and now not being super motivated). It's all starting to get to me.

    I was also considering starting a part time job at a bookstore or something.. Maybe just one day a week.. I mean, it's not like I've got a lot going on right now anyway. Ha. In thinking that though, I also considered just being a "regular" at a couple spots that I might meet people.. So, I'd find a coffee shop, bookstore or decent restaurant. Who knows. I've got to make this start to happen. I might also make the trek to go eat lunch on the other side of the building some days. That way I might meet some additional people at work.

    I also bought a bicycle trainer (that should be here today). My idea is that if I start to exercise I'll have more energy through the day.. and probably level some depression and motivation out. But who knows..? Ha.
  6. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
  7. Croox


    Sep 16, 2007
    South Side Chicago
    www.meetups.com is another good one to meet people, Last year we had a group that would get together and watch the patriot games. and waulkegan is pretty disappointing, Gurnee Mills and six flags are its only high spots.
  8. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    Two suggestions:

    1. Join a band that is busy. You will be too. OR start one.

    2. What would happen if you broke your contract? If you're miserable you might consider it. Save up for a couple months to cover costs, fix up your car and get the hell out of there. If you need the job to beef up your resume, you should stay. However, if not, you can just leave it off your resume and who will be the wiser?

    You have to look after your mental health.
    Good luck.
  9. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Good suggestions above. You could also try to see if there is a music club somewhere nearby that you could volunteer in. I'm a board member of a jazz club here in my current hometown, and through that I have been gotten a lot of friends I would never have met otherwise. Without that, I would live a rather lonely life here.
  10. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Wow - that Waukeegen events list page was pretty depressing.

    IMO - you should make plans to go back to school for your MFA.

    A contract and a lease are not jail sentences, you can just walk away. Life is short - if your health and happyness are being thretened do what's best for you.

    If you do stay, joining a band or working part time where you can meet people are good ideas

    Good Luck - let us know how you make out.
  11. My 2 cents. I've tried to live by the mantra "I can do anything for a year". I normally reaffirmed this through ****** employment, but you might need to double up. My other cent buys you a +1 on the being a regular at a spot or two...even a bar.

    My wife and I used to hang out at one bar pretty exclusively. You get to know the bartenders pretty well. You get drink specials the other patrons don't get and you end up getting introduced to a whole other circle of people through them.

  12. Chad Michael

    Chad Michael Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    Pacific Northwest USA
    Happiness is typically a result of:

    1) quality relationships with people you love and respect (friends / family, etc.)

    2) having something to look forward to (hobbies, being in a band, outdoor activities, etc.)

    Oh, and listening to music that makes you feel good - that helps too. (lately for me, it's been Jeff Kashiwa's music)

    May good times and better days find you soon. :)
  13. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
    +10000 great post
  14. regarding your apartment, see if you could get someone to take over your lease. Maybe give a little financial incentive to the new occupant by paying 1/2 of their first month's rent or something like that. Read the fine print on your lease contract (if you have one) to see if that's doable. If it's all verbal, who's to say you have to stay a year.

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