“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sometimes it takes a complete post-college crisis to understand what you are called to do in life; sometimes you have to quit something and close the door in order to move forward, to grow, and to understand your passion. I’m saying this because I did that two years ago with my student teaching experience. I quit something important for the first time in my life in order to do what I love, and it was the best decision I ever made.
I always felt called to life as an educator from a young age as I played school with my dolls and idolized my own teachers in the classroom. I knew upon entering Saint Vincent College in 2009 that I wanted to pursue secondary English education so that I could share my love of literature with high school students. I went through my entire four years of college knowing that I was called to be an educator, yet somehow deep inside, something felt off when I went into the classroom to teach. I had a very successful, happy life, yet nothing felt quite right. It was during my student teaching experience in October of 2013 when I fully understood how much I hated being a high school English teacher. I despised “teaching to the test,” matching every single thing I spoke about to a state education standard. I hated that students did not find passion in the same literature that I loved so deeply when I was their age. I did not like the environment, and I no longer found passion in the classroom. And so in October, I quit student teaching because I wanted to find happiness. I knew that going through one more day of student teaching would not make me any happier; I quit to take on projects that I loved in student affairs in higher education.
Throughout the student teaching experience, I was starting to realize how much I loved being an assistant hall director (ARHD), which was my other job during student teaching, and sharing those learning moments with students outside of the classroom. I knew I was called to be an educator, just not in the classroom. After quitting student teaching I began to seek more opportunities at Saint Vincent and gained experience making rubrics for the office of student conduct and assisting the vice-president of student affairs with compiling our annual report. My post-grad year at Saint Vincent was an extremely difficult, yet humbling experience for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I worked at a Barnes & Noble part-time while fulfilling my ARHD duties and completing side projects. During that time, I decided to start applying for full-time hall director positions, and in July of 2014, I ended up at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. as the hall director of Holy Cross Hall.
My time at Saint Mary’s has been a huge period of growth for me personally, professionally, and spiritually. I have grown so much in confidence through the incredible young women I work with here. I learned to challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone in order to grow. Ultimately, I learned that I am in a position that I love and I am finally fulfilling my passion in life. Throughout my time here, I have grown to be the extraordinary, confident young woman I am called to be; I wouldn’t trade my life for any other.
I am thankful for the courage to quit something I failed to love, to accept that failure in order to grow, and to move forward to doing what I love every day. My job is challenging, but fulfilling; I am an educator who helps students to grow as individuals outside of the classroom through their real life experiences, new-found independence, and daily challenges. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to turn my life around in order to do what I love. As I reflect on this past year-and-a-half, I realize that my time at St. Mary’s College has truly been a gift; I’ve learned to love and to accept myself for who I am in order to be a role model for the students I work with. I know that I’m in the right field, and that my next step (wherever that will be) will continue to help me to grow in confidence. I know that the future holds so many wonderful things for me (and I seriously can’t wait).
> BONUS <
Podcast With Gamification in Higher Ed & Student Affairs with Stacy Jacob & Dave Eng