I had never really consideredwhat learning really meant until I came to college. Coming to school was a pivotal moment for me in knowing what learning means. As a future educator I had to find out what it means to be a teacher, and I found that being a teacher includes being someone who takes learning very seriously and enjoys it. Learning is not just sitting in a classroom and memorizing the content given to you like I always thought it was. Rather, it is a thirst for knowledge that one must pursue and enjoy to fully reap the full benefits of it. Professors like Mrs. Hunn, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Nesheim took me down the path to discovering this.
Before this journey really takes place though, we need to back it up just a little bit, to my seventh grade year to be exact. I got the amazing opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. with the People to People World Ambassador Program. I had always loved history; it was the subject I absolutely excelled at in school. We traveled all over the D.C. area, Maryland, and even to Gettysburg. After I got home, I realized that I wanted to do something with history when I was older. I remembered thinking back to how I had always encouraged my siblings to do well in school, and had always gotten frustrated when they or one of my peers didn’t do as well as I knew they could. That was when I knew I was meant to be a teacher, and thus the beginning of my journey into finding out what it really means to be a learner.
Fast forward a year, and I encountered another pivotal moment in becoming a learner. Our math teacher had quit, and I was elated because I had not liked him at all. However my elation didn’t last long when I found out who they hired in his place: the infamous Mr. Dye. Our school had stories going back for years when it came to Mr. Dye; we heard he taught like a college professor, how strict he was, etc. I was terrified. Math was (and still is) my absolute worst subject. Needless to say, I had so many negative thoughts going into his class on the first day of school. But Mr. Dye shattered those quickly. He was a hard teacher, probably the hardest I’ve ever had, but he taught me so many valuable lessons. He taught me that if you’re not very good at a subject, you are going to have to work twice as hard at it (it might have taken three years for that to stick, but it did). But more than just helping me survive math, he made us laugh, and taught us you don’t have to go through the process of learning without smiling and laughing.
During this time, my family and I had made the decision that I would be skipping my freshman year of high school. I would still take all the classes required to obtain an honor’s diploma, I would just be taking all of them in three years instead of the typical four, which meant a heavier class load. I had to figure out very fast to stay organized and keep on top of my homework. At the time I didn’t know it, but it was showing me another pivotal part of being learner; hard work and dedication.
The final piece of this puzzle belongs to my parents, who double as my heroes. They started out as young, broke, and clueless parents to people with amazing careers and the most selfless people I have ever had the joy of knowing and loving. They instilled in me the importance of going to school and doing my best. They created a learner in me before I even knew what learning really meant, and they did so by letting me chase my dreams and telling me I could do anything I wanted if I set my mind to it.