Time is an interesting thing isn't it? Whenever you do not need it, you have plenty of it and when you need it the most, you have almost none of it. The past few weeks I have experienced this phenomenon several times as I have endeavored to rebuild my academic career after the canceling of my trip to Japan this Spring.
In the past few months I have not only worked as a substitute for a preschool, I have taken two college level courses and I'm almost done with my third. The first course I took was Early Field Experience, a two-week intensive course where I worked with and observed middle school students in one of the local schools. Oh how I wish I had taken this course sooner because after the two weeks were up, I had no desire to teach middle school. It was not that I had a bad experience, it was just, I saw what was really involved when working with students in that age group. You have to be 75 even 95 percent disciplinarian and a teacher the rest. I realized I wanted students who were actually interested in what I had to teach and honestly ones I could debate with. What I observed at the local school told me simply I was not the type of person to be a middle school or even a high school teacher.
With this realization my entire career plan needed to be reworked. Thankfully this new move did not disrupt my plan for education too much. My college advisor did recommend I should take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) as soon as my schedule allowed. I told him I would take the exam sometime in July, as I needed to focus on the history seminar I would be taking in June.
About a week after the end of my Field Experience course, I was once again in the seat of a desk. The history seminar was a pretty good experience. I met three intelligent historians, all-desiring to be teachers someday. The interesting aspect of this course was that two professors I had already studied under taught it. The first was, well the best way to describe her was German, which is fitting because she is in fact a German citizen, her father is German, and her main focus of study is German nationalism through college organizations also known as German frat boys. I am not kidding. She is indeed a good professor and pushes her students to get the most out of their writing. The second professor was my college advisor, a man I feel has become a great friend and one I run to if I have the slightest concern about my college plan. This seminar was by far one of the hardest courses I had taken during my time in college not in small part to the fact I had to rewrite a 15-page research paper two days before it was due. Talk about feeling like time was falling through your fingers. However, the course was a constructive experience and helped me to build on the history knowledge and teaching skills I will need later in life to teach a college class effectively.
With the end of the history seminar I was given a weekend’s reprieve before I strapped myself once more into the learner’s seat of another college course. This time it was the Principles of Macro Economics, an online course offered by Ithaca College. Now, I have never been a fan of economics, mostly due to the trauma I experienced in my high school economics class taught by a Madame Huntley, but I was hoping this course would not be as traumatic. At the time of writing this post I am nearly done with the course so I feel I should save me judgments till the very end.
At the same time as the economics course, I also had to take the GRE. That means that at any one time, I was probably studying for two exams. Eventually the day came to take the GRE and begin down this new career path. The drive to Syracuse took about an hour and a half. I sat down at my testing station confident in my choices and determined in my goal. The test started with writing, then moved to grammar, finishing with math and when it ended the only thing I could say was, “Well that was trite.” Seriously, for the time I had invested into taking the GRE I felt so cheated. I felt like some warrior who had trained for years to defeat some foul necromancer only to arrive at the villain’s lair to a few goons and a boss battle with a man with brittle bone disease. Sure the exam was difficult, but it just felt like there should have been much more to it. I guess I was hoping the start down my new career path would begin with some boisterous victory and some fanfare, not the tooting of kazoo.
These past few months have flown by sometimes. Other times they seemed to drag on for forever and a day. And as I sit here anticipating my trip to Japan I cannot help but wonder how will my time behave while I am abroad? That is one idea that worries me.