The Whole Story | Chapter Five

I had been unhappy with the work I was doing at Kohl’s for a few months so I started to think of all the things I was interested in exploring. I thought maybe I would enjoy event planning, or working in a small boutique, or working at a hotel. What I realized was that I was running from something rather than toward something. I knew in my soul that this was not work that was meant for me, even though I had learned so much and could have had a bright future there, I just felt like my soul was craving more. I was also becoming overwhelmed and almost grossed out by the amount of clothing that was coming in and going out of my one store and I started to question my own consumption and the over consumption of our culture.

I was starting to feel pretty desperate and anxious about what my next move would be. Instead of thinking of what I thought I wanted to do, I started thinking of what it was that I truly enjoyed and was good at and decided that pursuing whatever that was would be my next move. I realized that this was the perfect time to fulfill a childhood dream of attending a culinary program. I enrolled in the Patisserie & Baking Certificate Program with Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge in 2014. I was excited to learn a new set of skills and channel my creativity and passions into a new line of work. I got a part time job at Whole Foods Market in the bakery department to start to get a little experience under my belt. I took a bartending class because I felt like it and got a job as a waitress at a local restaurant. I was trying so many new things and it was terribly exciting and completely freeing.

I was pushed out of my comfort zone in so many ways and it was exactly what I needed. I gained valuable front of house restaurant experience which balanced the back of house experience that I was beginning to grow through Whole Foods. That summer I worked for a Wedding Catering Company on the pastry team in the production kitchen and at the event site on the weekends. I was still very busy but was energized by the variety of my experiences and propelled by the personal growth I was creating.

As exciting as this year was, it was also incredibly scary and I was so unsure of what my end goal was that I was starting to feel a lack of direction. I knew that I wanted to learn pastry and try out my hobby as a career but I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. My instructor saw a natural talent in me and encouraged me to apply to the Disney College Program, so I did. I practiced and prepared for the interview but it was still the WORST one I have ever had. It was a miracle I didn’t cry in front of the chef. I at least made it to the bathroom. After this near traumatic event, you can imagine my surprise to receive the email that I had been accepted into the program and was to start in January. Throughout this whole process I told myself that if I was accepted I had to go. I had so many people supporting me and I didn’t want to let them down. I also still lacked that sense of direction with my pastry degree so I saw it as a way to experience something new, open myself up to opportunities, and delay the process of committing to a direction.

Even though I had accomplished so many things and had drastically changed my life by switching direction, I was not any clearer on what I wanted to do. I was winging it which is NOT something I normally do, but it felt so good to be living this way - free to explore any interest and opportunity that came up. I think it was really good for me to have the freedom to play in that space of possibility where my passion (at the time) could be turned into a career if it felt like a good fit. So with my eyes and mind wide open, I moved to Orlando.

Lauren D'AgostinoComment