To The College That I Now Call My Home

To The College That I Now Call My Home

I have finally found you.
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To the School that I now call my home,

I just wanted to say thank you. These last several months are some of the best I have had in a long time. On the outside I seemed to have everything put together but, on the inside, I was lost. I bounced from school to school, thinking of different things I wanted to be. I met thousands of faces knowing that they will be a distant memory and will not even think of me for a second anymore. All of that stopped when I came here.

This school is it for me. You were welcoming, inviting, scaring and exciting all at once. Even though it took me a couple of years to find you, I am glad that I did. This is the place where I found out I wanted to be an English major. This is the place where I focused on my skills as a photographer. This is the place where I got a better grasp as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Every day I wake up and think to myself ‘I am here for a reason, let’s make today count’, even on the days when I do not feel like getting out of bed.

There are days when your professors pile homework upon project upon essay and I feel like it is all too much for me. But, God would not put me in a place that He believed I could not handle. This school has challenged me in more ways than I had planned. But I am thankful for what has happened to me here. Some days, I cry my bloody heart out and others I walk out like I rule the whole damn place. Hopefully one day I can stand out and not shed tears anymore, just run the whole place.

I have made some good friends that I plan on keeping for a long time. They appreciate me, they support me, and they do not judge me (other than the occasional roast session). They accept the innocent, kind-minded, positive self and that is all I can ask of them. I want to thank them with every ounce of me. This is the place where I got to live with my best friend of 14 years and make even more memories with her that we will look back on and laugh about.

This is the place where I learned about all sorts of people, from different places around the state as well as around the country. I have learned different lifestyles, some more laid back than others and I have learned that everyone looks at things differently and that is not bad.

I have learned that this is only the beginning. I am only a junior and have so much more to learn about my craft and about my world. I am excited for all the people I am going to meet and all the memories that I will have under my belt. Thank you for allowing me into your school. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family. Thank you for letting me call this place, my home.

Cover Image Credit: Deb Greengold

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8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"
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Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

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Take It From Me, Communicating As A Tutor May Just Be Harder Than The Calculus You're Tutoring For

It's hard work, that's for sure.

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As I described in a previous article, people should make time to tutor others. After I wrote that article, I was offered a job at the Stony Brook University Academic Success and Tutoring Center, and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Although I have tutored for my high school's honor society before, along with informal tutoring since middle school, I haven't had the chance to formally tutor someone, such as being employed to tutor.

Once I was hired, I realized that tutoring would require a lot more work and preparation than what I previously used to put in. Not only did it require paperwork to formally be hired and registered on the University payroll, but I realized that the tutoring here was much more involved. For example, I have to attend weekly tutor training sessions that are geared to help tutors make the most of their sessions and hone their skills. The ones I attended stressed clear communication with tutees and gave simulations that would help students understand what it would be like to be the tutee to instill empathy.

One of my favorite simulations was for the communication presentation, where half of the group was composed of students who were blindfolded and had no idea what would happen, but they could speak amongst themselves. However, the other half (aka the group I was assigned to) was not blindfolded but could not speak. We were tasked with organizing everyone in the order of their birthday (not year). In order to figure out what everyone's birthdays were, we ingeniously used our IDs/driver licenses to communicate that we wanted their birthdays and we quickly arranged them in order within a certain time limit.

To communicate with the people that were blindfolded and could not see the licenses, we managed to get them to open their palms, where we traced out each letter of "BIRTHDAY" until they realized that they had to give us their birthday. We then arranged them in order and somehow managed to barely squeeze within the time limit. When the simulation was over, we realized that everyone has their own internal language, and those language barriers are a thing, but there is still a way that we can communicate such that both people can understand. It is up to us to figure out the best way to communicate our ideas to our tutees, an idea that I strongly adhere to.

This is just one example of me learning how to be a better tutor. We studied metacognition, test-taking habits, and encouragement by avoiding disparaging comments. I am so happy that I joined this program because it helped me better understand how to be a tutor. While my first day was floppy due to my rusty understanding of Calc 3, I was better able to help tutor future students and I strive to uphold the standards of both Stony Brook and myself. I hope that one day I can become a fantastic tutor and help more students succeed!

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