Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Other Side of the Story

I made it to the school level spelling bee in fourth grade and seventh grade.

In sophomore year history, we performed classic Greek plays. Our 'Furies' swept the award show after the festival.

In high school chemistry I conscienciously did my homework every day. I received an 87% in that class and was more proud of that than any A I earned.

I aced the stoichiometry quiz (balancing moles and molecules in chemical reactions).

Junior year in gymnastics, I made a list of goals at the beginning of the season and accomplished almost all of them.

I premiered a new floor routine (to Janet Jackson's Control) at a meet with one of the top teams in the district. I scored a 7.5 and tied for fifth.

I made it to the regionals in floor and beam that year.

In my first game on the JV softball team, I hit a three-RBI triple.

I worked with three peer health education programs--Planned Parenthood Teen Council in high school, a Positive Body Image group at Western, and a University Health Ed program at UW. I gave some very successful presentations with each program.

I represented my dorm building in the res hall council freshman year of college.

My first quarter of college, I took four courses and my GPA wasn't great. But my GPA improved every single quarter after that, for all four years.

I interned for two years at a national nonprofit organization. The second year I was pretty much in charge of the website. (Of course, after I left they merged with another company and had a much more complicated site.)

I was always a procrastinator with big projects and papers. In college, since the last two years required so much writing, I actually worked harder and did not procrastinate with writing. Eventually, I noticed that when I worked at it, my class writing was pretty good. Quite good, actually. I learned to enjoy writing and feel proud of my work.

My undergraduate major required a thesis. I worked really hard on it for an entire school year and felt very proud. It totaled about 60 pages including a bunch of appendices.

I graduated with a 3.72 GPA.

I traveled around Italy for eight days with no reservations, no map knowledge, knowing no Italian. Obviously not really a smart thing to do, but I made it work.

Since then I have traveled alone to Paris, Belgium, Prague, and Amsterdam.

I drove alone down the Pacific Coast after college.

After my first year of teaching, I drove 3700 miles across the continent. The last two thirds was on my own.

We worked really hard in AmeriCorps. In September, we spent a week and a half canoeing down and up the Quinnipiac River clearing logjams. My arms were extra strong after that.

I applied to the Teaching Fellows almost on a whim but was accepted into the program. (I had been rejected from TFA two years earlier.)

I survived an awful first year of teaching and returned to a much improved second year. For someone who's never done anything longer than a year or two, staying in one place for four years is a pretty big accomplishment.

I think I'm a pretty good teacher. Occasionally I feel like I actually reach a student and see progress in them. I'm also getting better at talking to and relating to the kids.

Sometimes I can make people laugh. Mostly eleven-year-olds.

I make really good mix tapes/CDs.

I make a perfect caramel macchiato (because I worked part-time at Starbucks for four years).

I have a master's degree. It didn't require as much work or intellect as my undergraduate degree, but it's still nice to have.

...

I'm proud of this side of the story, but I'm still haunted by the other.

3 comments:

Nancy said...

That is much better! Anyway, it is natural to be haunted by the things we view as our shortcomings but at some point, you have to let it go. All those things were worthwhile experiences. We grow from everything, finished or not.

hedgetoad said...

I agree with Nancy! Whether we succeed or fail, at least we've given it a go!

rachie said...

this is an impressive list!

I've been saving money for a trip to Europe. Getting close, and I might have to do it alone. Any suggestions?