Choosing a year in Los Angeles

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Journal I received as a college graduation gift. What a perfect quote for inspiration.

Yes, I applied to two volunteer programs that would have taken me far away from the comforts of my familiar South Carolina home where I was used to being a few hours away from family, but neither seemed very scary. It also didn’t seem like I was taking much of a risk. But I think mostly that was because I didn’t really feel like there was an option. Since I didn’t want to teach, what choice did I really have? Well, I guess I overlooked the real possibility of simply staying home with my parents and finding some retail job as a short term fix. But that didn’t seem like an option either. It was time to get out in the world.

But another reason moving far away didn’t seem like too big of a deal was because it wouldn’t be a permanent move. These would be a one-year commitment. Plus, there was the promise of living with a community of people who had the same goals and shared the same faith. I found comfort in that.

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College graduation: Now what?

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I finished college in four years. That wasn’t necessarily viewed as a major accomplishment. It was an expectation. You go to college and get a degree. There’s nothing extraordinary in that. And at this point in my life accomplishments required doing extraordinary things. Talk about setting the bar result high for yourself!

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Student-teaching part 2: Yellow is a noun, right?

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There were some students who were really engaged, some that did as instructed, and some that questioned the relevance of an assignment but eventually complied. None of these students openly defied authority or the purpose of school. So the second semester of student-teaching was indeed far better.

My mentor teacher was warm and inviting and organized! She had high expectations for her ninth-graders while finding creative ways to make group collaborations more fun. It was wonderful to be with a teacher who wanted to challenge her students and see them grow! With about thirty years of experience, she had plenty of wisdom to share.

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“And I’m supposed to teach them?”

'I think I'm going to throw up.'

Senior year of college meant getting into the classroom and actually teaching. This meant two student teaching opportunities. I had signed up as being interested in secondary education, so my field placement would be at the high school level.

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Making accommodations in the classroom

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I came across this quote at some point during my college experience. I instantly fell in love with it. I very much liked the idea of continuing through life without letting something outside your control get in the way. I just didn’t know how relevant this quote was, how much it actually described me.

Like the bumble bee, I didn’t know about the external obstacles that were always before me. I just kept going. Pushing through the awkwardness and the insecurities. Doing the best I could to work with the irritations and annoyances that cropped up.

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The theory of teaching

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The education department at my college boasted that they got future teachers in the classroom earlier than other programs.

I trusted that claim. I trusted that it would mean practical experience early on.

Turns out, though, that we had different expectations for what getting in the classroom meant.

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Walking 900 words an hour: The importance of writing things out

1I take hour-long walks around my neighborhood at least 4 times a week. This time is used more for brainstorming and reflection than a focus on speed and exercise. The physical activity is secondary, honestly. I feel better after the fact, but the real accomplishment is happening on my phone.

Instead of simply thinking about topics and hoping I remember the wording once I’ve returned to my apartment, I have taken to typing these thoughts into the notepad app on my phone.

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Poem: Road Ahead is Closed (revisited)

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Are there any girls who didn’t pretend to be a mermaid in the swimming pool?

This was the first poem that I shared on this blog. It was written during the fall semester of my junior year in college. I decided to share it since it had to deal with swimming, and I had finished describing various types of therapy and sports I had tried. All of those were attempts to find something to engage my body and work on the physical skills I needed to improve.

Before I go any further, are there people who didn’t make up scenarios when they were swimming in the pool? Role play various problems with a group of friends? Is that a girl thing or just me?

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Learning through example of family life

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As junior year began, I no longer had 8 am classes yet I wanted to continue going to daily mass. There was some relief. The time was changed to 7, so I could sleep in some!

The later time brought in a new demographic of the parish. No longer solely retirees and individuals rushing off to work, now there were also mothers with children. The home schooling crowd.

There was a wide range in ages. I was impressed by their reverence, how serious they were about being there. The younger ones weren’t always cooperative; they are human of course. Generally speaking, though, they seemed to have a greater sense of awareness of what was going on than I did at that age.

Introductions were made. Though life was busy and chaotic for them, I was fortunate to meet women who had found a sense of calm within their routines so they could be open to welcoming a stranger.

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Night of glory on the basketball court

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As I mentioned before, “D” and I spent a lot of time during the fall semester of junior year meeting up to play basketball. I also continued with my running routine.

To celebrate “D’s” birthday, he gathered 10 friends together to play basketball in the coliseum where our school team played. It was the closest I’d get to playing for college. It was a big court and completely intimidating to walk on that court. While it wasn’t filled with spectators, I was amazed to find that all those empty seats eventually faded into the background and it became like playing on any other court.

I was the only female. It was cool to have a chance to play with the guys. Before we got started, though, I’m sure some of them wondered what I was doing there. Possibly thinking I was intruding on their boys’ night.

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