Giving thanks (part 1): the undergrad experience

It seems like every block I “just want the block to be over” but that’s never entirely true. Even as the workload crushes me I can’t help but marvel at how quickly time is passing… how things will never be this formulaic again. So even when I’m too deep into the block to see how easy I have it, I tell myself this mantra: at least I’m the student.

08287547b409fc0b9c4156b0cf2d59c4My last block (block 2) was one of the hardest classes I’ve had at Cornell–in terms of workload and subsequent sleep deprivation. But block 1 was my edu methods course (practicum), where I was in a real high school English classroom desperately trying to put my liberal arts education to use. Even doing casual mini lesson plans–where my mentor teacher completely held my hand–was stressful. Not in a bad way, but you always had to be “on.” To teach high school is to be a juggler: there are so many balls in the air but you have to make it look easy. You have to have it all together no matter what.

I don’t have to have it together as a student. It’s certainly in my best interest to have it together, but if I’m a complete mess it’s okay. I can come to class dressed as slovenly or sophisticated as I like. If I don’t have anything to say about the reading I can, for the most part, opt not to speak. And–even though it’s easier said than done–all I have to do is complete the assignments. I’m not grading, I’m not leading class discussion on a daily basis, I’m not carefully selecting the readings, I don’t have to worry about how the class is doing as a whole, as a student I’m just along for the ride–making the best of the situation I’m given.

I’m excited to go into the education field but I’ve gotten a taste of it; I have seen my peers go on to actually teach and I’ve watched them die for their profession.

I am in no rush. I’m perfectly content where I am right now: spending the rest of the academic year learning what the hell “English” is–you know, as I’m suppose to teach it.

So many of us “can’t wait to be done with undergrad” and are “ready to get into the real world.” As fulfilling as that is, much like the transition from high school to college, I’m sure it’s going to be a lot harder (but worth it). The real world would eat me alive right now, so I’m thoroughly enjoying this much needed prep period. I know I’ll never fully be ready to enter the real world–but in 2 years I’ll be better equipped to be consumed by it and right now that’s enough.

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