There are many lessons I’ve learned in college. Some stuck with me and others did not. I spent seven years in college so chances are a great deal of what I learned has kind of gone by the way side, like the only math class I ever took in my first semester.
The lessons I do remember though are ones I’ll never forget and while I can’t necessarily recount the exact words of wisdom imparted on me the lasting impressions are there.
The one lasting lesson that I owe more than anything to though was the professor of my World Civilizations class my first semester of college. I started college as a secondary education social studies major, mostly because I liked history and I liked to talk so it made for a fitting combination.
I didn’t think I was especially good at anything, especially writing. In fact, I pretty much hated writing papers so I knew college was going to be a challenge, but if I made it that far in my education I could make it four more years.
It was in that World Civilizations class that the professor taught me to embrace my interests no matter how crazy they may be. Within a few weeks of my first semester, I switched my major to history and braced for becoming a career academic and being poor while doing it.
I took this big step but I rationalized with myself that it was just my first semester and I’d have plenty of time to switch back when I realized I couldn’t write the kinds of papers that academics would deem worthy.
My fear of writing dates back to an AP English class I took as a junior in high school and was promptly told that I didn’t have the kind of writing skills to continue into the class for my senior year. This left a lasting impression, though my World Civilization’s professor by the end of the semester continued to tell me I had talent.
It turns out I would have that same professor for three other history classes and thanks largely to her and a few other professors in the history and anthropology department I started to gain some respect for my writing.
Funny enough, while each class came and went I learned I had a bit of a nerdy side and I even started looking forward to going to class. For the record, I only skipped class twice in my undergraduate career and those were both due to me oversleeping.
Before I knew it I was looking down at my cap and gown for undergraduate commencement but this wasn’t to be the end of my academic career. Somehow, I still can’t believe it, my writing developed enough that I was offered the opportunity to pursue a Master’s Degree in English, remember how I didn’t like to write papers? But to add to that, I was given an assistantship to teach English while I went to school.
So here I am this kid who going into college disliked writing papers to 7 years later having a Master’s in English and the opportunity to teach English for a year at the college level. I’ll admit when I dreamed of what I’d become when I grew up that one never came up but it’s been an amazing adventure.
I can safely say that even though I haven’t stated one specific life lesson my teacher’s taught me, they did show me that teaching was where I belonged. But more than that, they showed me how to teach and keep your students truly involved in the discussion.
I’d like to think that I was able to replicate that in my classroom. It’s been a year since I said goodbye to my last group of students and I hope that something I taught them in my class has aided them through their last year of schooling.
To those former students of mine who may be reading this I’d love to hear from you as to what lessons I taught have stuck around and helped you in school. Oh and if you keep in touch with other former classmates please pass this on to them as well!
For everybody else, I’d love to hear your stories as well about lessons you learned in college that have stuck with you. You can email me, comment on this post, or tweet me, anyway you want really. But please I encourage you if you have a story please share and then likewise pass it on to others who have awesome stories to share as well!