In about two weeks the fall semester will start and I'll be back in a classroom on campus with my cohort to begin our second block courses. I'll be less than a year from completing my coursework, less than a year from taking my certification exams, and 18 months from receiving my degree and becoming a fully certified teacher.
These are the things I have been thinking about this summer and I have to admit, I'm completely blown away by how different I felt at this time last year.
Two weeks before school started last August I was freaking out. I was only taking three classes, but all three were mandatory prerequisites for getting into the Early Childhood Education program. I needed to do well in them or risk being turned down when applying to my major.
This time last year I was still struggling with the remnants of the depression I battled in Savannah and still experienced anxiety attacks whenever I was in a large group of people... like, in the grocery store. I was still seeing my therapist regularly just to cope with daily life.
This time last year I still believed that passing my math class was sheer luck and I really didn't think I had the drive, dedication, and talent to make it into the ECE program, much less through it. I still didn't believe in myself or in this insane calling I feel to be a teacher.
This year though? This year my mind and heart are in a completely different place. Not only did I do well in my prerequisite classes, I made a 4.0. Not only was I accepted to my major, but I maintained my status on the President's List throughout the spring semester... easily one of the most mentally challenging semesters of my college career. Not only did I succeed in courses which dealt directly with education, but I made the Dean's List this summer while taking two courses that intimidated me to the point of tears.
Besides all of the educational success and proving to myself that I can mentally handle it, I have found a certain level of emotional peace as well. I haven't had an anxiety attack in over six months. Unless you have had one I don't think you can understand how amazing it feels to be able to walk into a crowded grocery store without being afraid of ending up a sobbing mess in the produce section. I don't doubt myself as much anymore either. When I feel bits of fear and doubt creeping in I remind myself of how far I have come and I think back to the days I spent in Mexico where I first felt the call to teach.
This year I have no doubts that I can handle my courses and work. Even though I am taking 18 hours, more than I have ever taken in one semester, I find myself more excited than intimidated. I get to do science this semester! Anyone who doesn't think science + kids = FUN clearly didn't get messy enough as a child.
With all of the incredible changes that have happened since this time last year I can't help but be grateful and look forward to what this coming year will hold for me.