My Fall Semester

After working 12 years of various retail jobs, I decided to return to school this year to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. My first classes started on August 22nd, and my first semester wrapped up yesterday. A lot of people complain about school, but I’ve loved every minute of it. I guess loving school comes with the territory of wanting to teach.

This semester has been interesting, challenging, and fun. It started on the day of the lunar eclipse. I literally watched the sky go dark, waited for the sun to come back out from behind the moon, and jumped in my car to drive to my first class, Psychology. There I met one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, Dr. Tam. Here is a picture Josh took of me leaving for school that day. It’s an awful picture, but hey, memories. Gosh, look how dirty my car was.

First Day

In addition to Psychology, I took Spanish, English, and Prob and Stats. I had signed up to take Music Appreciation as well, but dropped it before the semester began because I wanted to start a little slower and make sure I could manage school and work. It turns out I could. Here are the grades I ended with:

Grades

All of them but Psychology are final. I took my Psychology final exam yesterday, and I haven’t received the grade for it yet. I had to make a 62 on the Final to maintain my A in the class, however, so I’m confident I’m ending with an A. I’ll edit this post as soon as I get the grade. At any rate, I’m taking five courses next semester because I know I can do it now.

This semester had so many highs, and to be honest, I can’t think of any lows. Some of my favorite moments are below:

  • The second or third day of Psychology, we were divided into groups and each group was assigned a perspective of Psychology. My group got Cognitive. We had to present our perspective to the class in a unique and memorable way. I came up with the idea to play with Siri on our iPhones, asking Siri questions which demonstrated whether Siri could perform various cognitive functions like perception, learning, and thought processing. The book described the Cognitive Perspective as looking at the mind like a complex computing machine. What better way to understand that than to examine a complex computing machine, right? Dr. Tam told us that was the best introduction to the Cognitive Perspective that she had seen in all of her years of assigning that project. It was then that I thought, you know what? I can do this, and started to realize my self worth with school.
  • Near the beginning of the semester, I started a group text with some classmates I had connected with individually in my English class to discuss an essay assignment we were all working on. Everyone in that group just clicked, and we continued that group text throughout the entire semester. I made friends in that group. I’m outgoing and I make friends relatively easily, but it’s rare for friendships from one class to carry beyond that class. That class ended last Tuesday. We are still texting one another. One of the girls in the group text, Talitha, wants to come visit my church with me. I’m the only one in that group who took multiple classes this semester, and they all have been texting me asking how my exams have been going.
  • My Probability and Stats instructor called me an extreme outlier and “curve buster.”
  • My Spanish instructor, who didn’t remember any names and used a seating chart to call on us in class learned my name the last few weeks of class. He picked on me, and later told me he only picks on students he likes. After doing my oral interview with him, he asked me if I was continuing on with Spanish, and I told him that my degree, unfortunately, only required one. He told me that is a shame because I have a command for the language and he’s enjoyed having me in his class.
  • My English and my Psychology instructors BOTH recommended me for the Honors program at my school. That was pretty awesome, and it meant a lot that they thought enough of me to go out of their way to do that.
  • In the last class of Psychology (before the final exam), we played a game of Jeopardy as a review for the final. My group crushed the other teams, earning $9000 (fake money that turned into 5 bonus points on the exam), which Dr. Tam told us was the highest score she had seen. The second highest score was around $500. The highlight of the game to me was when I answered, “What is reciprocal determinism?” and got cheers and high fives from my group mates. The euphoria from that moment lasted for a few days. Hell, I’m smiling just thinking about it now.

I’m very aware that this post makes me sound like a nerd and an over-achiever, but this semester I realized I’m both of those things, and I’m okay with that. I’m paying for these classes with money I don’t have, and this opportunity means a lot to me, so I have made and will continue to make the most of it. For the first time in my adult life, I feel proud of myself, and I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

I learned so much this semester, not only about the subjects taught in my courses, but about myself. The biggest thing I learned is that I can do anything I set my mind to. The second biggest thing I learned is that it’s okay not to be perfect. I started the semester out having to make a 100 on every assignment, and the first assignment I didn’t, I felt sad. Look where I ended, though. An A is an A, no matter whether it’s a 100 or a 90. I can be imperfect and still be an A student. I’m not sure if I’m ready emotionally to make a B, but I’m getting there. šŸ˜‰ In all seriousness, I realized that I’m putting my best effort out there, and if my best effort on something is a 89 or a 94, if I know I did everything I could, I’m going to be happy with that. That’s not something I could say at the beginning of the semester, which shows I’ve grown as a person. That’s the most exciting thing about this experience.

One semester down, seven to go.

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Edit Ā Final grade in Psychology is a 97. šŸ˜€

8 Responses to My Fall Semester

  • Jon and Nancy are so proud and are excited that you will bring your gifts to the teaching profession. We wish you continued success and can’t wait to see the lucky students who will be blessed by you as their teacher!

  • Todd, as a friend who has been on this journey of life with you for around 13 or 14 years, I can honestly say teaching is what you were meant to do. God’s timing is always perfect. All the valleys we travel and mountain tops we climb are to arrive at the perfect place that God has set aside for us. I am confident that HE will use your passion for teaching, to make a difference in the lives of those who sit in your classroom!

  • Look how short your hair was! So proud of you šŸ™‚

  • I agree with Josh…I like the short hair in this picture. You are an over-achiever but we wouldn’t have you any other way! Todd, you worked hard for those grades, even though I give you a hard time about it, Congratulations!

    • Maybe I’ll cut it short again soon. šŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Jay! I’m going to miss you making fun of me every Friday night in Stats. Congrats on your grade as well!

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