Not knowing what may come next in my life terrifies me. As if, all over again, my parents are dropping me onto an unfamiliar doorstep to start the rest of my life and happily waving good bye. That day I became a college freshman I felt as if a chunk of lead had permanently formed within my gut and the wind had secretly found ways past my closed eyelids. Today, feeling tremendously more prepared, I will step out into the career world, ready to face the rest of my life.
Ironically, I will have gone from sitting at a desk to eventually standing in front of a classroom full of them. I chose to become a teacher, not because I knew it’s what I wanted to do since I was in elementary school, but because I decided it’s the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life.
I believe in the uncertainty. In other words I don’t have anything planned out for tomorrow but inevitably tomorrow will come and what happens is just another step in life. In fact even though I am OCD about lists, whether it be for the grocery, homework, appointments, or scheduling, I still enjoy the mysteries of each new day.
Occasionally the uncertain turns out to be good, for example during my senior year of high school, being excessively shy; I was stopped after school by one of the janitors named Billy. He talked to me about everything under the sun that day, first about my dodge shadow, next about his family then about mine, and finally he ended that part of my life with five quarters placed gently into the palm of my hand. I will never forget the infamous “floor change” as he liked to call it, all those coins he collected over the years that had been abandoned by their previous owners and ended up in a little can inside Billy’s closet. I’m still unsure if it was the hour-long conversations we had after school or the fact that he gave away “floor change” without thinking that made me break out of my shell just a little bit. However, in the end Billy did change a part of me and it wasn’t even something I was expecting that day.
Sometimes uncertainty can turn out to be a decision or an event you wished had never happened. It was my freshman year of college at Michigan State University and I had no idea I was on the verge of getting kicked out, in fact I was having the time of my life. Staying out most nights until three or four in the morning and skipping classes to sleep so I could do it all over again. I figured, if teachers were just reading from the texts in lecture then I could just read those books on my own time and show up on exam days. This strategy, as fun and exciting as it sounds, turned out to be one of the worst decisions I have ever made. In fact, afterward, I decided to move back home to get my priorities straight and try to go back to college again later.
Even though the choices I made my freshman year were some of the worst decisions I still feel as if I have learned from them. If I would have never gone to Michigan State and never skipped classes then I may not be here at Grand Valley State University, working the hardest I have ever worked in my life for a career in teaching. I believe that mysteries bring about great joy and disappointment but in the end it will be just one-stepping stone closer to where I want to be.