People are often warned not to make a decision based on a relationship, but for one graduate, it led her to finding her dream job.
Abigayle Goldstein is one of several hundred students graduating this weekend from the University of New Mexico.
She was born and raised in New Mexico and said she always wanted to move away. She originally wanted to go to college in Arizona, but she stayed at UNM for a boy — that relationship did not last long.
Goldstein remained at UNM and got her core curriculum done, unsure of what to study. She decided on English, with an emphasis on creative writing and a minor in teaching English as a second language.
Like many UNM students, Goldstein said she still wanted to get out of New Mexico. She said she had an itch to travel, so when the opportunity arose, she gladly took it. She spent two weeks studying abroad in Ireland during the summer of 2016.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to study abroad,” Goldstein said. “But once I decided I was going to go, everything just worked out.”
While studying abroad, she said she befriended her classmate Rachael Cassidy, and together they experienced the rich history and culture of Ireland. After their program ended, Goldstein stayed to travel more of Europe, visiting London, Paris and many of the places she had always dreamed of seeing.
“You never want to stay in your little bubble, in your corner of the world, and never see everything else there is to see,” Goldstein said, adding that traveling overseas changed her perspective and broadened her horizons.
Although she said she wanted to travel more, Goldstein came back to Albuquerque. She said she had to get serious about her courses and work hard to graduate on time.
As she started her senior year, she said she began preparing for the future and looking into jobs. Due to her minor in teaching English, Goldstein said there were several paths she could take after graduation. One option she said she wanted to pursue was moving abroad to teach English in another country.
Goldstein said growing up in the Albuquerque area, she has seen all the things that need help — the homelessness, crime, and poor education and foster systems.
“Albuquerque is kind of a mess, and I think that’s why a lot of people want to get out of here,” she said.
Many of her classmates are moving to Colorado or California for better jobs and opportunities, and she said she doesn’t blame them — however, that is not what she wants to do anymore.
“The more I thought about it, I realized I could stay here and make this place — the place that raised me, the place that I love — a better place for my kids and for generations to come,” she said.
After graduation, Goldstein said she hopes to stay in New Mexico and teach at the high school level. While she said she knows the pay may not be great and her impact may be small, she has a deep desire to help make a difference.
“There are so many places I could travel or go, but my dream job really is to work in the Albuquerque Public Schools,” Goldstein said.
Cassidy said she is excited for the kids who will get to have Goldstein as their passionate teacher.
“Any world (Goldstein) teaches in will be a better one,” Cassidy said.
Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.