“Ready to Go But Not Ready to Leave: Departing Thoughts of an SED Senior” is written by Laurence J. Kozakowski, Jr., an English Education major, Class of 2012
Four years went by in the blink of an eye, as clichéd as that might be. Before venturing off to college 4 years ago, many people told me to enjoy it because it will end faster than you know it. I dismissed them as not knowing anything and now owe many people personal apologies admitting how right they are. But in these past four years at the School of Education, I have joined a family of like-minded people hell-bent on affecting change in generations of students. It is a family that welcomes every student with open arms and makes it difficult to leave.
While volunteering at this past year’s Junior Open House (for high school juniors), I made a joke about how I was not okay with the fact that I am graduating this year. One parent, after I made this joke, approached me and said, “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but did SED prepare you well enough as you approach graduation?” I immediately replied “Absolutely.” I then told her I was ready to go, but not ready to leave.
From the moment Professor Tate threw on his 4 different hats in ED100, my indoctrination into learning the profession of teaching began. Throughout the next years, I took classes where professors challenged me, inspired me, and encouraged me. When I ultimately step foot into a classroom last semester as a student teacher, I felt more prepared than I ever thought possible. There’s something to be said about that in the School of Education. They are in the business of pushing students to succeed. I’m often reminded of Dean Vaughan’s saying that there would never be doctors, lawyers, or astronauts if it were not for teachers. We as educators are meant to challenge, inspire, and encourage. The reason I believe I can and will be successful beyond graduation is because of the effects of the School of Education. Each year was not the start of something new for me here. It was a steady progression of learning and preparation. To enter into this school a naïve freshman and leave a prepared teacher is something amazing.
So as I reflect back on these four years at SED, I know I am ready to go: go out into the often scary and intimidating “real world.” I am ready to go into a classroom and inspire students. I am ready to go out and try to affect change in generations to come. I am ready to go and represent the School of Education as a proud alumnus. I am ready for the next chapter in my life. But the friends I have made, the professors who have taught me, and the family of which I am a part, I am not ready to leave them. My experience at the School of Education has been the best 4 years of my life. I am not ready to leave so many memories behind. But, if I have learned anything during college, it’s that challenges should be welcomed as learning opportunities. So thank you, School of Education, for sending me out in to the world; I am ready.