Today I had my mid-college crisis. Some might think- RAYE. You’re only 20! Well as a second semester sophomore, this is LITTERALLY the middle of my college career (assuming I graduate in the standard 4 year time setting). My current position within the University of Illinois is as an Urban and Regional Planning major, with concentrations in both Sustainability and Global Studies (add in my minor, certificate program, and job title, and you have a hot mess of words that sound relatively official, but also like a bunch of BS). ANYWAY- back to my melt down.
Let’s set the scene: I’m sitting in my second class of the day, UP 335 (Urban Planning course, Cities and Immigrants) and the professor hasn’t arrived yet. It is not unusual for her to be late, and it is not unusual for me to not want to come to her class, due to the monotonous sound of her voice and the way that she sounds uncertain about what she is teaching. I am sitting in the front row and five minutes have passed. I despise the classroom that she has moved us to since the beginning of the year as we have gone from a lecture hall the size of a class room to a broom closet sized classroom that has us bumping desks. As a 5’11 female, though I on occasion claim 6′ (and I know for certain that I’m 6’2 or so in heels), I have rather long legs and knee problems to boot, so this classroom that has little-to-no leg room + that one kid that can never sit still in lecture = desks being violently shoved into my knees (hence forth, I sit in the front row and accidentally trip the professor from time to time when stretching my legs), and my violent distaste for this classroom.
The professor, despite her seemingly lack of confidence, is very friendly and understanding, but loves to do repetitive things. Which I hate. This was shown today when she started giving examples of what it is like to work in the field. Mind you, by this time, I was regretting coming to class (as I have been all year), my friend who usually suffers through the class with me had not yet returned from break, and I was irritated by some of the people in my fraternity who were backing out on their obligations. It was towards the end of the class period and she had been talking about the installation of street lamps in communities and the benefits, as well as the drawbacks of going through the governmental channels of getting them installed.
It was at that moment that I started crying.
Installing lamp posts in communities is not what made me cry, but the process that she had to go through to make this happen. It took her THREE YEARS to get ONE light post installed in a high crime rate area to make the residents feel safer. During this time period, she was made to hold meetings, set up demonstrations, have engineers, officials, and city council member go out to the community and decide that this was MAYBE something that had to be done. I was so upset. In that moment, when she was explaining that the people of that community had to repeat themselves over, and over, and over again for three years for someone to listen to them and get something done about their safety, and that there was nothing that she could do to speed up that process, I looked back at my year in Urban Planning. Not once had I said that I loved my major or any of the classes that I was taking. Not once did I look forward to a class, or a project, or enjoy talking about what was going on in that field. I decided right then and there that there was no way in hell that I was going to continue this. No matter what the benefits that I saw for myself in the future were. I thought to myself, ‘What is the job that you long for? What is the job that you thought you were going to have when you were younger? Remember when you were convinced for YEARS that you were going to be a teacher, but that people talked you out of it? That teachers don’t make enough money, or that you need to take a bunch of psychology classes and that you wouldn’t like them-even though you’ve never taken one, so there’s no way of knowing if you would like it or not? Screw them. Screw the voice in your head telling you that you won’t be successful in this field because there are so many others that could be better.’
So tonight I am taking the first steps to becoming a teacher.
What kind of teacher? Don’t have that figured out yet but I don’t want you readers to think that I have come to this decision lightly. It was my dream from the time I was about 12, and it was the future I had accepted for myself and was excited about. I chose Urban Planning in high school as my major because I thought it was a better fit for me, however, I will not be confined to a decision I made in HIGH SCHOOL for crying out loud. I am not 17 anymore. I have fluid thoughts and opinions that change over time. I have started the process by emailing the teachers that were and are influential to me to interview them. I want to know their side of the story. I want to know what they think being a teacher is about, how they got into the profession, how they keep their passion, and how they have managed to be so successful at what they do to influence me the way that they have. It will be a while yet before anything is official, but it is certainly something that I am looking forward to, and still researching.
I know this was a bit more serious than usual, but I want to thank you for sticking with me to the end! ❤ Hopefully my next posts are more light hearted! 😀 A special thanks to my family and friends during the stressful decision to change majors. I wouldn't have been able to be strong enough to make the decision to change without your support!
See you all soon,