|Me and Sara B class of 2012|
Last year for graduation I was hours away from delivering Baby G. This year I'm a mother. I've grown and changed so much since 2011 graduation. So have my 2012 seniors. What experiences and opportunities await them? The patterns of life change drastically after high school. The new graduates feel "old." I did too back in 1997, but now at 30+ I can't reflect back on High School Graduation with out the opposite feeling of "young." so young.
During the ceremony I underlined all of the seniors I've mentored over the years. I'd taught over half of the graduating class. It boggles my mind that I have so much power to help young learners. I respect this power and try to use it for good. I adore teaching. I can't imagine any other career. Back in 2007 as a "young" blogger (and a young teacher) I gushed about the first graduating class of the Charter High School where I teach. Their were 10 Graduates. You can read about it here.
My Soapbox of Advice: The Sunscreen song says "Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, panting over the ugly points and recycling it for more than it is worth." Acknowledged. Still, I freely give the following advice to my seniors. I've added two points since Graduation of 2007.
My College advice
Preface: Going to college changed my life. Not everyone needs to go to college. But in our society most people do. I'm not sure if I felt more polished when they handed my by bachelors degree or not. But I know that college refined my mind, provided dicipline and new paradigms. I loved college. I encourage my students to study at a university. Most of this advice is how to have a good college experience:
- Move away from home. Live with other freshman in the dorms. People who live at home have a different and less full college experience. Everyone needs to move out and figure out how to pay an electric bill and make a casadia for dinner.
- Have cool summer jobs. You are going to have to work your entire life. Working can be fun and but even the best jobs are day in day out. Before you have to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or an insurance agent every day have a fun job. Drive buses in Alaska, cut pineapple in Hawaii, be a river guide in Moab. Have adventures. Do something that will give you fun stories to tell your friends when you return to school.
- Live out side of the United States. During your college years find some way to travel. Most Universities have college abroad programs. Take advantage of them. Never in your life will it be so easy to spend six months in Paris, or Mongolia, or Morocco. Read about Rome and then have your own Roman adventure. Traveling is an important part of education and worth the cost.
- Take from good professors. The relationships you make with your college professors can and do influence the rest of your life. Most of you will be paying tuition. It is well worth your time to research professors that will work with your learning style. Not all professors are created equally. Most are good.
- Graduate. I'm alarmed at the amount of people who pay for class after class with out receiving a diploma. Not that I'm opposed to learning just for learning sake. I'm a huge fan of that. But you can learn at a library. Universities take your money, make sure you receive what they offer in the end.
A recent wedding reception.
A few weeks ago I attended the wedding reception of one of my students. He's 21 or 22 and studying German and English at Southern Utah University.
After congratulating the new couple I got a brief update of his life. Turns out he and the new bride are headed to Alaska for the summer because he "Got a cool summer job every summer like had advised." Then he and the new wife are headed to Austira because he did a semester abroad in Vienna and loved it. I got emotional. I stood thier looking at my former student reciting my advice back to me in the form of adventures he has had. This is what I wanted to hear.
You see I teach for selfish reasons. As a teacher I am constantly learning. I've learned more from the class of 2012 than they every learned from me. Congratulations to us all for another year and wisdom gained.