Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where I am Supposed to Be

For the past few semesters at school, I've been in a rut. The kind of rut that makes one question whether she really should be an English major, because even though she loves the subject (in theory) and wants to teach high school English, she can't seem to grasp all the English stuff she has to know in order to be a teacher. Writing has been my main issue; I simply can't seem to do it, and when I finally made myself sit down to write that 10-page research paper, I waited until the night before it was due and pulled the typical college all-nighter, and thus produced pieces of crap. I knew, or hoped that I knew, that I could do better. I just couldn't seem to get there- the words wouldn't come to me and more importantly, I had no passion for what I was learning.

I made B's in courses that should have been A's, and I questioned whether I should still be classified as an "English Major" (though, of course, my dilema was that I had to be in order to get the job that I wanted). I told several people that I may end up going back to school after a few years of teaching to get a second bachelor's degree or a master's degree in something like nutrition (but after thinking that one over and remembering my struggle with Biology 1406, I deemed that as "not my most brilliant idea").

But this semester came, and everything changed. The stars aligned to give me fabulous professors who taught courses that caught my interest, and I decided that I was going to do well. I was going to write for them because I wanted to impress them; I respected them.

About half-way through the semester, I realized that I was, in fact, worthy of being an English major. All of my papers and assignments were coming back with A's. One of my professors happens to be the English Department Head, and she grades particularly tough. But the first paper I wrote for her was one of the highest grades in the class, and she asked to use parts from it for examples for other students. Even in my Literary Analysis course, in which I still have no idea what is happening, I've made all A's.

My favorite course, Creative Non-Fiction Writing, has helped me more than anything. It's all about writing, and when I began the course I was incredibly weary, claiming to myself that I wouldn't do very well without a huge fight. Well, it's been a fight, but perhaps I should say it's been more of a quarrel, because I got it. I understood the techniques and the form, and better yet, I put it into practice. Every week I have written a short story and will have completed three major projects at the end of the semester. I realized that I can write, which is slightly ironic because I was such a cocky writer in high school.

It's been a rough journey and I've questioned myself and my abilities over the past few years. But now I know, without a doubt, I am where I am supposed to be. I am an English major and I will be a teacher. I will help students discover the importance of grammar and handwriting in an auto-correct society. I will introduce them to a new way to look at Shakespeare, and help them analyze classic literature. But more importantly, I will cast a passion for education in my students. Even the ones who never receive a formal higher education, I want my students to never stop learning.

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