I'm Not Graduating On Time And That Has Helped Me Grow Just As Much As My Classes Have

I'm Not Graduating On Time And That Has Helped Me Grow Just As Much As My Classes Have

I'm not ashamed anymore.
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I’ve tried to write this a million times. I have yet to find the write wording to express how I feel and the point I’m trying to make, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I’m not graduating on time.

My decision to spend my junior year at a college close to my hometown and then transferring back to my original university left me a few courses short of graduating this June. I’ll have to spend an extra 10 weeks in school during this coming 2018-19 school year.

That doesn’t seem like much, right? Only 10 weeks. But it’s an extra 10 weeks that I wasn’t supposed to spend in school. I’m supposed to be in my last quarter! I’m supposed to be fighting off senioritis and complaining that the homestretch is taking forever. I’m supposed to be ordering my cap and gown so I can walk across that stage in June.

I didn’t fail any classes or anything. It was my decision to transfer schools that set me back. My decision to do this was fueled by the fact that my depression and anxiety symptoms were becoming too much for me to manage on my own. I needed to go home and be with my family and my support system.

Realizing that because of this I won’t be graduating on time has filled me with a lot of shame. I’m ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough overcome my symptoms. I’m ashamed that the one thing I swore would never hold me back, did.

I’ve been going through a lifelong struggle of accepting myself for who I am. What I didn’t really truly realize until now is that this goes beyond your physical appearance. It’s accepting all aspects of yourself and being proud of what you have accomplished. It’s knowing that you’re just growing and mistakes and bumps in the road are common when you’re growing.

I may not be graduating this June but I will graduate and that’s something that I should be very proud of.

I shouldn’t be ashamed of my year at home. I should be proud of myself for listening to my body and knowing that I need to make a change for my health. I should be proud of myself for putting my mental health first and taking the proper steps to help me be healthier and happier.

I may not be walking across the stage this June, but when I do walk across that stage I’m going to be happy, healthy, and proud of myself for everything that I’ve accomplished. I will be the girl who faced her biggest demons during her college years and still made it to the end. I’ll be the girl who accepts who she is and knows she has so much to offer this world. I’ll be the girl who has accepted her own personal timeline. Most importantly I will be the girl who is ready to take on the world and anything it can throw at me.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Charter Schools Should Be Stopped

Many people do not know exactly what charter schools are. My recent research will help you understand what they are, and why their growth should be hindered.

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My name is Sophia Ramey and I am a sophomore at Syracuse University. I attended traditional public schools in Belmont, Massachusetts, throughout my entire childhood. I have recently conducted some research on charter schools to learn more about them and I am glad I did. It has now come to my attention that charter schools do not reap the benefits that they claim to and I would like to petition to stop their spread across America.

Charter schools were designed as an alternative to traditional public schools to help failing districts. Despite their failure to do their job, their growth is currently being promoted by our presidential administration and they are beginning to cause more damage to our education system than good. Because charter schools are unregulated, do not require certified teachers, and can shut down at any time, their desired effects have not succeeded. Students can be enrolled in a school one day, and the next day they can announce that the school is shutting down and the students must relocate.

Charter schools have also not been proven to necessarily perform higher than traditional public schools, which defeats their purpose. When the test scores of traditional public school students were compared with charter school students in the same district, there were no significant differences found. Because teachers in charters are not required to have any specific educational background, they cannot provide students with the highest quality learning.

They also have a selection process that allows them to take just the top performers out of traditional public schools, and leave behind struggling students in schools with limited resources. Charter schools are unable to provide students with disabilities with proper education, so even on the rare occasion where they accept these students, they often counsel them out of the school system.

Although their intentions are good and they offer school choice to students and parents, their ideas are not executed correctly. Charters receive support from some very big names, like Bill Gates and Reed Hastings, but we must bring it to their attention that they are pouring their money into the wrong solution.

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