A Professor's Journey

A Professor's Journey

Point A to Point B

So many people have a specific journey in life; how they get from one place to another. Sometimes it seems as though we are destined to become something, others pave their path to true success. Being a college student who has aspirations in the education field, I decided to think about how I could get from point A to point B. My story is a little bit different than most. I am 27 years old, a mother of one, and currently a senior at the College of Staten Island. As you can see, not the typical college student due to major personal milestones in my life. That is another story for another time.

I major in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies. Someday soon I hope to become a middle school or high school Social Studies teacher. According to the Department of Education and New York State rules, I must teach for a minimum of eight years before I can apply to become an Assistant Principal or a Principal. Yet this isn't even my ultimate goal. People tell me I'm crazy when I tell them what I really wish to be is the President of a university.

This got me to thinking about a lot of things. So many people have plans in place as to what they wish to become in life, what path they choose to follow for their career. I have had so many interesting professors while attending CSI, and the title of "college professor" was absolutely something I had considered as becoming my profession at sometime in my life. I decided to ask a former professor of mine a few questions as to how he got to the place he is today. I also wondered if he was happy with his decision and where he stands on the typical "college student" and "college experience."

After graduating high school in 2002, the professor I interviewed, who shall remain anonymous throughout, attended CSI because admittedly, he wasn't a very good student. For those of you who don't know, admission to CSI is a fairly easy process. As long as you have a GED or a High School Diploma, your acceptance is only contingent on taking an assessment test for placement into a Math or English class. He also wasn't very "academically minded" at the time, meaning he basically just didn't care all that much about school. It was an "obvious choice" for someone who lived on Staten Island. Here, I would have to agree. Why commute to a private institution or dorm, pay upwards of thousands upon thousands of dollars in tuition and fees, just to get the same if not better education at CSI?

This professor chose to major in cinema studies. He always wanted to be a filmmaker and took a unique interest in the subject. Personally, I never thought of that to be a good major to pick, but that's just my opinion. It's great that you're interested in something and choose to pursue it, but in the financial scheme of life, not a very lucrative choice. What kind of jobs would someone with a cinema degree hope to obtain? Working on a movie set, directing, writing? What kind of connections would you have to make? This is undoubtedly a hard road to travel.

It took him five and half years, or eleven semesters, in order for him to complete his degree. Not coming from a very wealthy family, he needed to work many different part time jobs to make ends meet. He was a tour guide, worked at FYE in the Staten Island Mall, and also worked at a catering company all during his tenure at CSI. He admits that most people usually don't graduate in four years, and I can attest to that statement. It's sort of this academic myth that the media pushes on us.

Starting as an apathetic student, he didn't really become invested in his studies until his second year, when he started courses for his major. That's when he really dove in and wanted to learn, because he was studying something that he was interested in. I guess not everyone is as interested in the general education requirements as I am. I found the general education requirements to be necessary and interesting, but this proves that not everyone has the same experience.

According to my source, the worst part of his college experience was the ivory tower mentality of some of the professors, meaning that they always thought they were above or better than others, especially their students. While some were really good communicators, others definitely showed disdain for their working class students. Rather than opening up their eyes to new ideas and possibilities, they already assumed that you should have some kind of appreciation or understanding of the art and culture they were trying to teach you about.

This jaded sense followed him throughout his academic career. Upon graduating with his bachelors degree, he realized that without the proper connections it was really difficult to get a job with his cinema degree. Creative jobs often take a lot of luck. He took an additional three years to obtain his masters degree. His interaction with his professors are what drove him to become a college professor. He swore to himself that he would never be like those who showed such disdain for him.

But not everything is all sunshine and rainbows. As an adjunct professor, he works for peanuts. He always gets the worst course sections to teach, and he has to work at multiple universities in order to make ends meet. But still, he says he is happy. Tune in next week for a follow up article to see why he chooses to stay in a thankless profession. Maybe it will make some of my readers understand why people do certain things even though they don't get to live a glamorous life.

Cover Image Credit: Bamboo Earth

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.


Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.



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