I’ve always been a pretty decent student: I got good grades, I paid attention in class, did my homework, and showed up on time. While I wasn’t the most adamant about school, I was definitely there to learn.
When high school came to an end and it was time to go to college I decided to take a break. My parents really wanted me to go, but I needed to figure out what I wanted for myself. That is, I think, the American dream after all.
Anyway, I worked here and there, did some new reading on my own, and after I noticed that I was spending my nights and weekends reading biographies of great people I decided it was time to go back to school.
It was a slow, part time start as a non-traditional student, but I got the work done and got into the flow of things. And, ultimately, I did a lot more with my well rested and rather eager frame of mind.
In college I studied English with a minor in Writing, was a Poetry Center intern for two years, taught four sections of ESL classes, and I took two trips abroad earning my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and working as a teaching intern in a kindergarten.
While I was abroad, in Germany, something similar happened as when I took time off of school—I found myself reading a lot and writing a whole lot more than that. So, while I was there, teaching cute little kids to speak English, I also applied to MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) programs in creative writing, more particularly, poetry.
When I returned from my year in Germany I started right into my Masters program, which lasted three years. While there I worked as a University and high school English tutor, as well as a Poetry Center manager. I loved it. I learned a ton from my classes and from my peers/friends, and I spent a lot of time in the library stacks looking into all sorts of things.
Looking back, if I hadn’t taken that time to myself to figure out what I really wanted, I never would have finished a Masters degree or checked out little over a hundred books while I was there. I learned that learning is very important to me, and more so, that getting an education is more than earning a piece of paper that acts like a hall pass. What it really is about, I can’t say: it’s one of those things you have to figure out for yourself. But when you do, you’ll be all the better for it.