Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Final Observations

As this school year is coming to a close and I'm packing up my room, I thought I'd make some observations about my freshman year of college.

1. I have a lot more clothes now than I did when I came to school. Honestly I don't know how I am going to pack it all because I just have so many things.

2. The second floor of the library shouldn't even be considered part of the library. It is just another place for people to socialize. It seems like everyone thinks it is okay to talk at a normal level when on this floor, they should relearn that when in the library you are to use your inside voices.

3. Living in St. Mary's, a house on Lapsley, turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Once I realized that I wouldn't be living in a dorm I was upset because I thought I wouldn't be getting the "real college experience". However, I didn't miss out on much actually I loved it, and if I had to do it again I would choose Saint. Mary's instead of getting stuck with it.

4. When you ask someone where they are from and they live in New Jersey, they assume you know where their town is. I am from Maryland and don't know much about Jersey, at the beginning of the year I would tell people I don't know where that is. They would proceed to explain it to me, so over time I just started nodding and pretending I knew where they lived because that was a lot easier than hearing their explanation of the geography of New Jersey.

5. The hours of Campion still suck, and the food still isn't that great. Even though I can always find something to eat when I'm there, I still wish the food will get better.

6. The people that go to this school truly love Saint Joseph's with a passion that is unexplainable to others.

7. I have realized that I am a "home body" and I miss my family way more than I thought I would. When I'm at school I feel a little disconnected from my family. My parents and little brother are back home in Maryland, my older sister is in Boston going to school, and my older brother is in Peru doing service work. Even though I talk to all of them on a regular basis whether it be on the phone, through Facebook/ Twitter, or texting, I still feel disconnected. I love Saint Joseph's and I can't see myself anywhere else, this just makes me appreciate my family much more and makes me treasure the time I get with them over breaks. Also, it has shown me that even though this may be dorky to say my family is awesome and I love them so much.

8. I have talked about this last observation with my roommates many times. The idea of college is so weird. Packing up the first 18 years of your life into boxes, to move in with complete strangers, and spend a school year with them. Sometimes you get to live with someone you've known for a long time, or maybe someone you met who has similar interests and living schedules as you, but most of the time you're stuck with people you have never even met. That is what happened to me. I got stuck in a room with 4 complete strangers. When I first thought about going to college and living with just one person I was very scared, but then I found out I would be living with 4 people and I almost told my mom I'd rather stay at home. After going through this year with them, we formed this bond that if you have lived in the same room with 4 other people you'd understand, but if you haven't you wouldn't get it. It wasn't the easiest adjustment and because we are girls, there was PLENTY of drama. No matter how much drama we've gotten ourselves into, how many fights we've had, how many tears we've shed, and how many laughs we've shared, I can truly say that I will be friends with three of these girls for the rest of my life. So I guess this observation isn't just about how college is weird, but also that college forces you to grow up. It forces you to go out and make new friends on your own without your parents there setting up "play dates" for you. It is a little peak into the future of what you life will turn out like, and  NEWS FLASH: you get to choose everything without getting any criticism from your friends from home or your family. College is an unexplainable experience that if kids younger than you ask "what is college like?". You can tell them stories of your years in college, but everyone has a different college experience that is as unique as the person living it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Frustrations About Service

I think that what frustrates me most about service is how things don't click easily for my learner, Sonia. What we usually work on is math, and for me I understand very easily. So teaching someone how to do the order of operations and them not understanding how to do it is frustrating. We worked on the order of operations for a very long time, I told her step by step how to complete the problem, and we did practice problems for five weeks. When we got back after break she forgot everything we did. I know that it isn't completely her fault that she forgot everything. She did have a stroke last year and it damaged her memory extensively. If I could change anything, I would change the fact that Sonia had a stroke. If she didn't have that stroke, she wouldn't have had to go on medical leave and she'd still have her job. I can't change that, but I will do everything I can to help her regain as much as she can.

Other than this I think what frustrates me even more is how many people are constantly coming in an out of the CFL. I think it is great that many adults have made the decision to get their education and that there are many volunteers willing to help, but the fact that there are this many people that need help is a shame. Our country and the school system plays a huge role in the fact that these people didn't go through school the normal way. The school system never looked out for people who had a learning disability, they just shoved these people into a special ed class and called it a day. This is a disgrace, the system is the reason that many of them fell so far behind that they didn't even know which way to go.

I would love to change all of these peoples' pasts and give them the live that they should've had, but I can't. Instead I'm doing something about it by helping at the CFL through this class and I'm working to get a degree in education. I want to go into special education, I want to help those students who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks if they were born just sixty years ago. I want to make it so that there are no children have to go to the CFL or a place the CFL when they grow up. I know that this is an ambitious dream, but if I can reduce the number of people who need to go to the CFL in the future I'll be happy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What I Feel Called To Do:

My whole life I have always liked working with kids. It is probably due to the fact that I have a little brother who is five years younger than me. At first,when I found out I was going to have a little brother, I was very upset that I would not be the youngest anymore. I then realized I would have someone to boss around and i was happy. Growing up with such an age difference between us, most people would like we never had anything in common. Actually I was closest to him, in comparison to my two older sibling.

We always would play outside together with our neighbors and we still have a strong relationship even though he's in the 7th grade and I'm in college. Senior year when applying to college and trying to pick a major, I thought about all the years I used to play with my brother, the neighbors, and my little cousins. I realized that I love working with children. So I thought about all the career paths involving working with kids, and that is why I chose the major early elementary education. I know that after college I'm going to either continue into grad school, or get right to work in teaching. I'm gong to want to love the job I have and I know that if I am going to be a teacher that I will truly love my job.

I have gone to Catholic school my whole life, and in high school our religion teachers would always ask us "what is your calling?", in the religious sense. I have had many years to think about my calling, or my vocation. Loving to work with children made my decision with vocation very easy. I believe that God is calling me to a mother. Having as strong of a faith that I do, has lead me to this conclusion. All my life I've loved working and being around children, I can't wait until I am done with school and I can fulfill my calling.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back to Service

Last Monday when we loaded up into the service van and headed down city ave I started getting nervous. It had been well over a month since the last time I saw my learner Sonia and I was scared she had forgotten everything we had done in the last semester. I didn't know what I would do if she didn't remember the order of operations since we spent almost every session on it. I didn't know what I would do if she hadn't been reading all break. Then I thought about the type of person Sonia is and I knew that she has a lot of determination. She is not going to give up until she gets her GED and I knew she had worked on all the homework I had given her.

We pulled up the the Center for Literacy, unpacked the car, and headed into the building. Sonia isn't one for being punctual, so I wasn't surprised that she wasn't there yet. She drives herself to service and the traffic is constantly different each week. Mark called us back into his office and reminded us of the rules and where everything was in the building. After, he told me Sonia had called and said she wouldn't be coming because she had car trouble. So he had me work with someone else for the night.

I met with my new learner for the night and she told me that she passed every part of the GED test except for the math. We started going over how to use the calculator since that was a major issue for her and then we went from there. We didn't stop for a break, she was constantly asking me to continue with what we were doing, and she caught on quickly. By the end of the night she was fried we actually had to stop a few minutes early because neither of us could do anymore math. I was sad at first when Mark told me Sonia couldn't make it, but by the end of the night I was happy because I got to help someone who was very close to accomplishing her goal.

I can't wait to work with Sonia tomorrow night and help her towards her GED. I am a little apprehensive about this semester, not because I don't think I am going to be able to help Sonia instead what will happen once we stop going? Is she not going to have a tutor anymore? I am scared that once we stop tutoring our learners with hit a road block in their goals for their futures. I guess I will have to wait and see what will happen, but until then I am going to be working my hardest to get Sonia one step closer to her GED.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


When I came to English class for the first time of the semester and heard about our service and what we would be doing, I was scared. I had tutored children before, but never people older than me let alone people close to my parent's age. The feeling of being scared didn't go away until the second or third time going to service. When we were sitting in the CFL the first night, I was praying that I would get a female learner because I didn't want to work with a male. It turned out that I would be tutoring a female and I was so happy.

Looking back on the first night that I met with Sonia, my learner, I am so proud of her. The first night she told me everything she wanted to learn so that she could pass the GED. To be honest I was nervous because some of the things she needed to learn, I'm not that good at such as grammer. I didn't let that stop me, I just told myself when we get to it I'll worry about it then. We have been working mainly just on math which I am grateful for because I love math. Up till now we have done adding, subtracting, multiplication, division, the order of operations, mixed numbers, and improper fractions. Some of these things she already knew and we just built off of. For two week Sonia didn't come and I was worried that she would have forgotten everything we had done, I was wrong. She came back with her homework and she got a hundred on all of it. I gave her a quiz and she didn't do too hot, but we went over it. She saw her mistakes and asked me to give her another quis. She got a 100 on this one and I was so proud. Afterwards she told me that when Mark was telling her how to do this it didn't click, but since I took it slowly and explained everything to her, she finally got it.

I never knew how big of an affect this would have on me. I never thought I would create a personal attachment to my learner because that isn't my personality. It made me so happy to hear her say this and I can't wait to go back in January and help her more and more. Sonia is truly and amazing person who has put others before herself her life. She has four children that she has put through school and even a grandchild who she is helping get through school as well. She only came to the CFL because she had stroke this past January and she knows that she cannot continue at her current job with the level of education she has completed. I know that at the end of this school year Sonia won't be ready to take the GED, but I hope that everything I have done up until then will help her along her way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Object

On Monday when I was at the CFL waiting for my learner to arrive I was looking around for my object. All around the small room there are posters with different sorts of pictures of Mark with his students. These objects didn't stand out to me, it wasn't until I turned around and saw a poster that says: YOU GO GIRL! REACH FOR YOUR GOALS BEFORE YOU GET PREGNANT!

I found it very odd that this poster was here. First of all because most of the people at the CFL are way past the point in their lives where they would be having children, so the poster isn't even relevant to their lives. Second of all I thought it is rude. Some women who attend the CFL may had to drop out of school and end their education because they did get pregnant. I was thinking about how it must feel to go the CFL and see a reminder of why you need to be there. Sure the women didn't mean to get pregnant and end their education on purpose, but seeing this poster probably doesn't help their self esteem.

I think this poster has a very concrete message. There is nothing metaphorical about it. It is what it says reach your goals, before you get pregnant. I think this poster is a constant reminder that having children at a young age hinders a women's/mother's ability to continue her education. Once a girl has a child, there are two people in the world she has to look out for- the child and herself. It is obvious that the girl won't have the time to continue on in school if she has her kid at a young age; because all of her attention will be on her child, not her schoolwork.

 I am not 100% sure if this poster connects to my learner. She has told me all about her kids, but never once has she told me that they were the reason she stopped going to school. She did however have her children very young. I think that this poster is a sort of slap in her face. She never had the opportunity to accomplish her school related goals, but she did accomplish other goals. One she is a successful mother and grandmother. She also had a job for 25 years in the health field and is now out on disability. She also made the decision to finish her education at the age of 48 and I think that is very brave. I commend all of the learners at the CFL because they probably faced many different obstacles such as pregnancy at a young at, yet they are still trying to finish their education. I find it very offensive being a young woman and seeing what teen pregnancy can do to people. Not every one at the CFL can relate to this poster, so I don't even know why it is up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Midterm Reflection

This summer before coming to St. Joe's, I was very nervous about college. I was going back and forth with the decision about where to go to school, and I was scared that I picked the wrong college. One of my sister's friends who is a sophomore gave me some of the best advice, since she had just gone through her freshman year. She told me that I am not going to be the only person at school who is nervous, and everyone is starting out in a new place. Now after being in school for almost 3 months the nerves have melted away. I am so happy with my decision to come to St. Joe's and I cannot see myself at any other school.

Thinking back to this time last year I see have young I really was. Everything that monopolized my life last year seems so unimportant now. I was so caught up in petty high school drama and gossip that it ruled my life. I went to an all girls high school, so drama was always present. I am so glad that I was able to break free of dumb high school drama and be off on my own. Since coming to college I have become more responsible and independent. I don't go running to my mom or dad when I have a problem. Instead I think about how I can resolve the issue on my own.

I wish I could go back to my senior self and tell her not to worry about useless things. That drama won't be running my life when I go to college. I would also tell myself to enjoy the time with my friends and family because you'll miss them to death in college.

Since coming to college not much has changed with my habits, interest, or outlooks. However, some of my priorities have changed. The biggest one is concerning my schoolwork. I think about my schoolwork all the time. I used to procrastinate all of my work in high school, but now I do it right when I get it so I have more time to sleep. I love college and hope the rest of the semester is as good as it has been so far.