A small town girl takes on the world

Sunday, September 6, 2009

....On Being Proud of Yourself (Myself)

I am currently sitting in Zoka, a coffee shop near my house, working on a few scholarship applications. I am going into the last 6 months of my program, but there is never a better time for help paying the bills, right? I really should be working on these, but I can't stop thinking about something.

Lately, I've been really down on myself, my goals, my life, my accomplishments, etc. I've been thinking things like, "I haven't done anything" and so on. I'm only 23, but I haven't been able to shake the thought that so many of my friends are doing such COOL things, like living in Spain or moving to Boulder for graduate school instead of sticking around Seattle. I haven't been able to really think highly of myself lately, and it's been worrying me because I HAVE TO GET IN FRONT OF SIX CLASSES OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ON WEDNESDAY. Needless to say, some confidence would really help.

As I sit here typing essays about why I'm going to be a qualified teacher, how I'm going to change the world, and why I'm worth thousands of scholarship dollars, I'm beginning to remember exactly why I decided to pursue this profession. It's funny, but I think the best advice I've ever gotten might be from Zoi, my multicultural education professor. She told me, "You know, it might sound silly, but you absolutely have to revisit WHY you want to teach at least every few weeks. You have to remind yourself why the pain and the difficulties are worth it. Otherwise, you won't know why they are, and you won't be able to DO it." So, I guess I'm reminding myself of all the COOL things I've done in the past that led me to this place. It's easy to forget them when they're just words on paper, but when I have to think through them and remind myself of their significance, I remember.

I remember people like Chariti, a girl I worked with on applying to colleges, who eventually started college in a small town in South Carolina 2 hours from my summer internship. I got to move her into her first college dorm, and it was such an incredible honor! I remember schools like T.T. Minor Elementary, which is closed now due to budget issues, that were filled with people (kids and adults) who were completely different from me. I learned more at that school about public education than anywhere else. I remember a time this summer, when I had an incredibly difficult time working with a small group. I felt I could barely held my tears in through a series of disciplinary actions, but managed to retain composure until the students had left. I cried because I was frustrated, because I felt inadequate, and because I knew these students were lashing out at me for much deeper reasons than boredom. That was one of those times that I had to remind myself why I was doing this "teaching thing".

As I sit here and reflect on why I'm here, applying for scholarships to finish a program that can be tedious and painful at times, I feel empowered to drive through the hard times that I'm sure are ahead. The next six months will be excruciating, but they will also be rewarding beyond my wildest dreams, and that is what I will remember when I think back on them. So, thanks for your support, ahead of time, because I'm sure I'll need it......and, back to writing essays!

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