I Can and I Will

This week marks five years of being done with school; August 5th was the anniversary of passing my defense and August 10th is the anniversary of submitting my thesis and being completely done. Those days seem like a faint memory, I remembered because Facebook thinks it is important to remind us of the things we post; most of the time it’s pictures of donuts I’ve eaten, but this time I’m glad it’s a worthwhile memory.

It’s so crazy to think that a bit over five years ago I was only getting 2 to 3 hours of sleep because I was managing a full time job and then spending all my extra time at school working on finishing my degree. Fast forward to now and I can’t believe I did that; that was me hustling and getting no sleep! I couldn’t imagine that now, I’m so grumpy when I don’t get my sleep. Even though I don’t think about it much these days, I do vividly remember feeling like I couldn’t do it, feeling like I was never going to reach the end of the tunnel, but here I am five years later!

Nancy Pasillas is feeling satisfied x 2
Done.

Little did I know that feeling of satisfaction from finishing my degree was not going to last. I ended up with more school debt than I wanted and I had no experience to get a job that allowed me to utilize my degree. It took me five years to get a job in my field, five! This March I left my job of over 9 years at a financial institution to work at an environmental services company. During this pandemic I’ve been feeling pretty guilty for feeling so happy, fulfilled, and satisfied because of my job. I had given up even imagining being able to work in my field and here I am learning everything! Guys, I’m a nerd, learning is my jam, being challenged and succeeding is also my jam, so I’m feeling great. I wasn’t hired as a geologist, but in the position I hold, I get to learn and do everything, not just geology. I also finally got to blow the dust off my degree because I finally have a job where it makes sense to hang my degree; it sits in the wall behind my desk in my office! Even though my title is not “geologist” I did get to be the official on site geologist at one of our projects last month and yes, it was everything I ever dreamed of!

Top Left: Me taking a a selfie with my degree in the background of my office. Bottom Left: The job site where I got to log soil borings at a phase II, using air rotary and split-spoon. Right: Me taking a break inside the truck while the rig moved locations because it was 106 degrees outside!

What is the point that I am trying to make?

I almost never got here.

I don’t know how far back I want to go with the “I almost never got here” because so many things could have prevented me from getting here.

I am a first generation Mexican American, my dad has a third grade education and my mom has a middle school education. I always felt so horrible when in college applications it asks for your parents’ education and the lowest option was some high school and I couldn’t even select that.

I was never a high achiever, I really just got by with minimal work and effort because I had no accountability. My parents were too busy and had their own problems that didn’t allow them to worry about how I was doing in school, they knew I wasn’t failing miserably and that was enough. Don’t get me wrong, I was an honors student and I always planned on continuing my education and doing all the things, I just didn’t take it as seriously as I could have. I look back and think of all the wasted potential, all the things I could have done to make it easier. Things like not going crazy and deciding to get married at 17, so many things always come back to that decision.

Did I mention I didn’t even want to marry him?

He was moving to San Antonio, I was graduating from high school, and he wanted to take me with him, but he couldn’t just take me with him and live in SIN, because god forbid his Christian parents had us living together while not being married. He was sinful in many ways, but he had to marry me to continue our relationship.

I was finishing high school and even if I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, I knew I wasn’t stopping there. I had plans of being grown and having a great job that made a difference. I wanted to rise above my situation and be better than I was. I wanted to be the chubby Mexican version of Elle Woods getting into Harvard law and owning it.

I didn’t want to marry him, but I still said yes…well, not entirely. I did try to break up with him, I had it all figured out: we could break up, he could go ahead and move to San Antonio and instead of going to UTSA I could stay in Fort Worth and go to UTA. I had already applied and been accepted to UTSA, but still met the deadline for UTA and got accepted. That didn’t go over well and I ended up in San Antonio and married.

When people ask how I ended up in San Antonio, I always tell them I moved here to come to school, but that’s not true. I would feel so dumb saying that I moved here to follow my boyfriend at the time. I moved to San Antonio for the first time in 2007 and I actually didn’t start at UTSA until 2011.

There was four years of life adventures between 2007 and 2011, and yes I did say the first time I left San Antonio, and yes that “on this day” from 10 years ago that is under my Done post from five years ago was also a hurdle I had to jump over to get me here. I hate to leave this post to be continued, but I also have to go to bed because I already know I’m going to be grumpy in the morning. Stay tuned for the continuation of this blog post. I told myself I was going to do at least one post a week, I didn’t say it was going to be complete; it’s been a busy week, but I’m promising myself that I will make time, plus we all know I end up getting the degree.

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