This past December, we decided to throw caution to the wind and pretty much start our lives over again differently. We put our house on the market, packed up our stuff, I quit my job, and we moved down to Corvallis. We weren't completely working without a net here, as we had family in the area (in fact, we're renting our new house from my in-laws). The plan was that I would teach half-time at OSU in the design department, I'd freelance the rest of the time, and Bill would transfer to OSU's mechanical engineering department to finish his 2nd bachelor's.
Things went well. I had a couple big freelance jobs right off the bat (thanks Brian Vegter and Yakima), and school was challenging but manageable. Bill had a few hiccups getting started at school thanks to admissions messing up some transcripts, but by the time we started out second terms, we were in the groove. I even decided to take on a third course in the spring that looked interesting.
Well, midway through that 3-course term, I found that adding on freelance on top of that course load was more of a challenge than I cared to take. The major reason for our move was to reclaim our freetime and have lives outside our jobs, and taking extra work was definitely ruling that out. The only problem was, teaching pays so little that we found ourselves basically saving nothing and living paycheck to paycheck without the help of design work. We were faced with a decision: how should I structure my time next year to (a) be happiest, and (b) be responsible to our future selves financially?
After a few conversations with the director of my school, and learning about what changes would be afoot next year, I realized that it was definitely coming down to an all-or-nothing scenario with teaching. I could move from adjunct to full time instructor, but I'd have to give up my freelance practice, except for, potentially, summers. We decided to make the leap, and while this will be a challenge in some ways ($$), it's really exciting as well. I have been given the opportunity to invest myself fully in academia, without the necessity of splitting my time.
Additionally, I'll be looking at ways to add to the OSU curriculum in meaningful ways, bringing my own education in Biomimicry and sustainability into some new courses, and maybe even helping to develop a minor. So while my client work will be taking a back seat after this next September, there are some great developments on the horizon.