College Freshman Thoughts

A soon to be college freshman, I watch as my summer now draws to a close. The days quickly slipping by, I must now bid farewell to my school, my family, and many of my friends. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself dreading the day that I leave for Virginia.

I’ve been asked several times whether I’m excited to be leaving for school. I usually answer politely, saying that I’m nervous, but also excited for this big change. Today, however, I answered differently.

When a curious middle schooler asked me what it was like to be heading off to college, I admitted to her that I absolutely did not want to go. I expected a simple nod of understanding, but she instead admonished me, saying that I should open my mind to what a new experience has to offer.

What I learned from her, that I couldn’t learn on my own, is that in my fear I refuse to accept what has and will change. It’s normal to feel anxiety as one begins a new adventure, but I should learn to address those fears instead of dreading my departure.

Writing the first post of the year, I hope that my story inspires us all to continue sharing our experiences with others, whether they be our students, our teachers, or our friends. As I did today, we can learn much about ourselves when we take the time to listen to others.

As I took my first thing in the morning walk through each building this morning, I found just what I was looking for—the chance to talk with colleagues about students and teaching. It should not be news that successful teachers are fascinating people; rather the headline should be that their fascination and engagement with the world finds the perfect location in the classroom and its perfect manifestation in engaging students. Science teachers provide my favorite examples of this.

Science teachers can barely contain themselves when they describe what they love about their subject. Ask a physics teacher how he or she fell in love with the subject, and you are likely to hear to a story that still amazes them about the first time they encountered the Atwood Machine. They speak as if they still can’t believe their luck has been so good as to grant them a life that allows such easy access to their favorite intellectual playground.

Perhaps science teachers intrigue me because while I share their love of teaching, my chosen playground is the English classroom. It is the difference between us that allows me to see the truth we share. At the end of my walk this morning, I spoke with two biology teachers who were headed outside to collect samples for a lab.

“I bet you get to collect samples for English class everyday too,” one said smiling.

“Absolutely, I grab some metaphors from the garden everyday.”

Here’s to teachers! Happy new school year!