A Surprising Twist


When you’re a teenager, it’s hard to see what life truly has planned for you. There is enormous pressure from peers, teachers, parents, and mentors to pick a career, choose a major, and go to the right college. This pressure can be excellent on a lot of levels, it can keep you focused and help you set goals. But there are a lot of negatives. Nobody really tells you that what you decided to do in college isn’t the end all. So I did my best to find something I loved to do, spent an incredible amount of time devoting myself to it, and then decided to go to college for it. This particular thing for me was lighting and projection design. (In simplistic terms, I made the lights and pictures pretty during live performances). I essentially created a world and directed a narrative out of thin air. I loved it. Every shadow, texture, and color. I threw myself into and didn't come up for air until I graduated from college. It was an incredible experience until I realized that while my head was underwater, I had a change of heart.

The heart fuels passion and unfortunately, if that passion decides it's moved on, it can be hard to ignore. So after only a few months of post-graduation jobs in New York City, I ended a very successful chapter spent in theaters and events. Check out my work from that time here: lisarenkel.com

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Then if we fast forward a few more months and a lot of contemplation later, I found a new job. Something I've always been great at... kids! There is an enormous under-advertised demand for nannies in New York City. It makes sense, a lot of career focused parents with kids who are scheduled for activities every minute of everyday. Well, coming off a bachelors of fine arts in theatre is apparently a parents dream when hiring a nanny. A creative, young, easy-going friend and care taker for all their littles.

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I ended up working for an incredible family with two boys located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. If any one knows anything about NYC, Park Slope is the perfect place to raise kids in the city. Low crime, amazing parks (including Prospect Park), and lots of great schools. Overall, a highly family focused community in the middle of the insanity of the New York. I was with this family of two boys for about a year. I was also able to pick-up extra hours working events for a very special pre-school.

My time spent with those kids totally changed my life. I no longer felt upset about leaving theatre or events because I knew from this point on, I wanted to work with kids and maybe still art.

Eventually this dream started to evolve. I thought maybe I'd be a pre-school teacher (my favorite age is 3s and 4s). I started to look at going back to school for my teaching certificate or a secondary bachelors in early childhood development.

In the middle of all of this, Dylan and I were moving from Brooklyn to a small New Jersey suburb about 30 minutes west of Manhattan. So while I was trying to figure all of this out, I started a new nanny position in New Jersey with two little girls who were two and five.

Meanwhile, I applied to a few school in New Jersey and got accepted! I was super excited because this meant after a year of dreaming, I could get my new career on track. But like most things, it was not without complications. The school I wanted to attend the most, Bloomfield College, offered me no financial aid other than loans. I was so upset. I was in so much debt from my first degree that I couldn't imagine setting myself back any further. So back to the drawing board.

Which brings us to where I am currently - I'm not sure what to do next. I'm just trying to take some time to figure it all out. So for now I'm still with these sweet girls laughing and learning while dreaming about my future.

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