In the past two, three years, I've experienced some tragedy, a bit of heartbreak, struggles of a diverse nature. But along the way I continued to learn about myself, continued to strive for happiness and did my best to keep positivity in my heart. So here I go, I'm at the beginning of a journey towards obtaining my Master's degree in Education and I could not be more excited.
My relationship with the world of education started with refusing to let anyone else at daycare stand at the front of our pretend classroom. We had a few desks that we used, we imagined that we were students before we were even 5 years old. I loved being at the front and bossing the other kids around with fake worksheets and hair brained grammar lessons.
My love for the field of education took it's first hit in fourth grade. I had a teacher that was so cold, so corrective that the elementary school public opinion pitied all of her pupils, kids even made up rumors about her. From the moment I knew that she would be my teacher I was terrified. I don't remember what I was particularly afraid would happen but I can tell you what did happen. She preyed on the fact that math didn't come quickly to me. She put me on the spot all of the time, quick to scribble on my papers, breath down my neck instead of patiently guiding. Had she payed attention she might have known that I flourished in one on one moments, in the solitude of my independent hard work. My brain froze and my palms instantly clammy the moment everyone looked to me for the answer, or when someone is over my shoulder scoffing, judging and harping. Aside from her humiliating techniques she also deprived me of my recess on a regular basis so that I could sit inside and do worthless worksheets alone. As if it wasn't humiliating enough that I couldn't master my times tables let's isolate me during the one time a day when social interaction is encouraged.
My mother claims that's when everything changed, my attitude towards school and learning went down the tubes. The days of being an over achieving third grader were over. I never again asked for extra assignments, I never read ahead, I never set the curve. Although I still did genuinely well, average at the least, I never again went above or beyond, I never put myself out there to excel. I did what I had to do to get by because there was no shame in that, no one could make me feel bad because I knew I wasn't actually trying. I could float, never swimming against the tide.
Middle school were my awkward years, glasses, braces, being 60 pounds soaking wet. I had team teachers in 5th grade, meaning two teachers taught the bulk of my day and then we moved classrooms for things like choir and gym. Ms. Jensen was awesome, strong, silly, she read us The BFG and I'll never forget the enthusiasm she had. Her partner in team teaching was Ms. Hakula, who never did quite get the hang of our class. I don't remember specifically if there was one trouble maker or if we were all horrible, but she cried multiple times in front of us because she just couldn't seem to get us to listen, or engage. It was sad. I'll never forget her look of defeat.
In high school I spent much of my time being 'too cool' for much other than hockey, my friends and weekend fun. After that four year shit show ended I panicked and went to Century Community College in the fall of 2008. Most of my close friends did the four year university things complete with freshman dorm life and meal plans, I lived vicariously through them of course but was glad I did my own thing. I worked at a restaurant and moved in with a coworker so I could feel free and half asses my way through some English classes and was then turned onto the Art Institute by a friend. Going for a degree in commercial arts combined my creative mindset with my appetite, I was never going to be a starving artist. So without much of a second thought I enrolled before my semester was even finished, bailed on the last few weeks of classes. Failed everything and didn't care because after Christmas break I would be starting a new school.
The Art Institute was a mixed bag to say the very least. There were parts I loved; the subject matter, the resources, most of the instructors. And there were parts I absolutely loathed; the high cost of credits, the constantly increasing tuition, the fact that during year two I became aware that my educational institution was owned by Goldman Sachs.
I loathed but I was also heartbroken over a broken promise. I had taken out excessive loans, I had the support of my family, I had all the excitement of a novice traveler, basically had my bags packed for a study abroad trip to London, I was months away from the experience of a lifetime when the school discontinued it's study abroad program. It's was apparently not making them (GOLDMAN SACHS!!!) enough money. Insert my not amuse faced followed by my sobbing face. I was devastated. Distraught. My would have been roommate and internship companion and I were in class when we received the email saying that our trip was not going to happen, we both cried in the middle of class - women in their twenties, crying in class. I know, I know, first world problems right? I didn't get to go to London, boo hooo. But college is a purchase, the way our system is set up it's one of the biggest purchases of most people's lives and we are pretty much forced to do it. Well I have BUYERS REMORSE damn it - a term I learned while overpaying for my degree in Advertising. The major-specific study abroad program was one of the main selling points that I based my college experience on. And I'm not trying to convince you that I spent even the appropriate amount of time fretting over different schools and experiences. As an 18 year old you know the world is messed up and you know you're supposed to go to college so closing your eyes and picking seems about as valid as losing sleep over it all.
Unfortunately my Bachelor's of Science is from an institute that from it's conception was about money and not the success or best interest of it's students so it's going to be a long journey of fighting for credit and transferring as much as I can. It could be as long as four more years until I'm even a licensed teacher. I have almost $80,000 in student loans that are for a degree not even accredited on a level equivalent to a four year university but somehow I feel at ease. I am taking steps everyday towards being the person I want to be, towards a career path that I know will be rewarding. I know this is what I want and regardless of the hurdles that life and myself have put up I know I will prevail and be successful.
The creative, marketing and communications world in which I've been working since 2011/12 is wonderful but it's not my life's purpose. I know that teaching offers the kind of interaction with youth that I crave, it offers stability of work and most importantly the opportunity to touch lives. I will create an impact that people will take with them, into their own lives. Igniting flames of passion and intellect in the heads and hearts of my student's is my new life's purpose.