Lost Girl of the Week: Jennifer Manis

Lost Girl of the Week — By on June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

Jennifer Manis, this week’s Lost Girl, was on a path to a successful life as a teacher, working on her Ph.D. in Oregon. But, when she decided that path wasn’t right for her, she took off to find herself and hasn’t looked back.


As I sit here in my apartment in the countryside of Geumsan, South Korea, I can’t help but to think that even in my 30s, I can still be a lost girl.

As a kid I always imagined that I’d have my life figured out by the time I was in my twenties. In my twenties I thought I had it figured out. I had been accepted into the Ph.D. program of my choice university and offered a job teaching college level courses in my field. I was also dating a nice man and on my way to a successful future. All of my friends and family were so
proud of me and so it came as a big surprise to them when in my third year into the doctorate program I finally had a breakdown. It turned out to be a breakthrough.

I had no idea what I was doing. I hated teaching, I hated the program I was in, and I knew that my relationship with David was going nowhere. It was at that time that I quit everything and began to live. I had been forcing myself to follow a path that was not mine because I was afraid to let everyone else
down. I was afraid to go after what I really wanted.

After much soul searching I took the big leap and quit school, teaching and my relationship. At first, I took the summer and traveled around Alaska. Next I went to live near family in the Pacific Northwest thinking that family could help me sort things out. They helped me some but I didn’t find what I was looking for there. What I wanted was more adventure, to find real love, and to see and experience new things.

I knew that sitting in a comfortable spot in a small town in Oregon wasn’t going to get me what I wanted so I left the comfort of my home and hit the road again. These days I find myself teaching in a foreign country that I’ve never been to before. I don’t know what’s in store for me next but I do know that as long as I’m out here searching for what I want and not
hiding behind fear I’m one step closer to finding myself and true happiness.

Jen is originally from Southern California but relocated to the Pacific Northwest to be near her family in 2009.  She has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and a Masters in Criminology and was teaching criminology and criminal law to undergrads up until 2009.  These days, she isteaching English in Geumsan, South Korea, meeting new people and seeing new places.  She hopes to backpack around Europe and figure out my next step her life.

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