Last week, I hit a pretty large milestone for myself. I took my last ever final! Even though I am still technically a college student, I will not have to take any more actual classes or finals. All I have left to do before I graduate in May is complete my student teaching and write my Honors thesis.
It is a little crazy to me that my time as a college student is coming to an end. I have learned and done so much in the past three and a half years, and I am not the same person I used to be. I watched my roommate walk across the stage and graduate on Saturday with the thought that the next graduation that I attend will be my own.
This has been a long time coming. I tested out of speech one semester. In addition, I have taken 8 Honors courses, 10 education courses (plus student teaching), 10 history courses, 6 psychology courses, 5 geography courses, 1 course for each additional social science (sociology, political science, and economics), and 5 core courses. I’ve had a grand total of 2 roommates in the past 3.5 years, and I became a double major. I’ve also worked three different jobs, with two of them being concurrent for the most part. I’ve made lots of friends, and my cohort for my major has become such a great support.
Looking back over the past 3.5 years, I realize just how much has actually changed. I am much more confident in my abilities as a history teacher. While I am not sure I will ever feel “ready” to teach, I definitely feel more prepared to be able to teach middle or even high school students. I can definitely see where most of those courses have paid off in preparation for my future.
Because I am a specialized major (rather than Elementary Education, where they have to teach every subject), a lot of my classes are content classes rather than methods classes. In other words, I am learning the content of my discipline rather than how to teach it. At face value, that doesn’t seem like the best idea. But it works. In my high school practicum, I taught a lesson using the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the explosion of the Maine. Most of my preparation for that lesson came directly from classes I have had in college.
Like with any new chapter, there were a lot of unexpected moments in college. I never expected to be a double major in college. I actually chose the school I did BECAUSE I didn’t have to double major. Some of the other schools I looked at did not have a History Education program. I would have to double major in Education and History. Having just a Social Studies Education program was a huge factor for me, and yet here I am double majoring in History and Social Studies Education. I also never expected to write a thesis on baseball history. I knew going into the Honors College that I would have to write a thesis at the end of my time. I always figured it would be Civil War history because that’s my favorite aspect to study. And while there is a Civil War aspect to my thesis, it’s not the main focus.
A big thing I never expected was how amazing the head of my department would be. She ranks second of all my teachers I’ve had, only behind my math teacher in high school. That is a seriously impressive ranking. She pushes me to be better and encourages all of us to work hard. All of us in my class think that if we can be half as good a teacher as she is, then we’ve succeeded in life. She can be a little unconventional in her methods, but they work.
These past 3.5 years have really shaped me. They made me into a better teacher and a better person. This chapter of my life is closing, but I’m eager to see where I go from here. Student teaching, my Honors thesis, and graduation are all that is in between me and my future career!
P.S. I will be taking a two-week break due to Christmas and New Year’s. I will see you all in 2020!