Monday, August 10, 2009

The view from the other side of the desk

Holy crap--in 9 days I will be a full time student again! I am excited, nervous, anxious, you name it right now. I have no idea how I am going to pull this off, but I hope I can do it! All I can think about right now is what it's going to be like to be on the other side of the desk. When I first started teaching after getting my Master's I remember how insanely strange it was to be on the other side of that big desk/table at the front of the room. In many ways, it was the same feeling that I got when I quit being a teller and had to go into the bank as a customer--I mean, you never get that view! But the difference in the teller and teacher situations is that the view I am speaking of is literal for teller and more figurative for teacher.

For, wow, like 18 years of my life (I was 25 when I finished my master's and I had a couple years away from school after college) I was always the student, sitting in the small seats on the other side of the desk--I was the one taking the notes, doing the reading/homework, writing the papers, and taking advice from those "know-alls" behind that big desk. Then, all of the sudden, I was the one that those students looked to for all the answers--I gave the assignments and the grades. I really surprised myself at how much I had retained through all of those years of school and have been proud of myself so far for how far I have come as an instructor--but now those tables are turning yet again...

I remember the feeling of relief when my master's thesis was approved and I was done--I was a Master of Science in Applied Sociology! Those 2 years seemed like a lot of work--and now I am starting at the beginning of a 4-year (at a minimum) journey. I have been out of the student desk in the classroom for nearly 4 years. I hope I surprise myself with knowledge retention on a much larger scale this time. I am already stressing over comp. exams (the first of which I will take in a little less than a year) and the whole dissertation process. I guess I just need to take it one step at a time. This time, too, I am going to try to remember that I DO know a little something and those "know-alls" on the other side of the desk don't actually know EVERYTHING...and they learn from me, too. (My students have taught me lots--not all positive, but that's another blog for another day...probably when I am banging my head against the wall grading papers and answering emails of why you have to actually do work to get a passing grade.)

Anyway, I hope this journey is as amazing (or even more so) as those I have traveled so far. I hope that this time, thanks to a few more years (decades) of life experience I can also enjoy the journey itself. Of course, I am working toward that "Dr. Beth" goal, but I also have an amazing family, friends, and the pursuit of knowledge itself to enjoy and appreciate along the way. (And for those friends and family--get ready for a few breakdowns and "I don't think I can do it"s along the way.) :) I hope I'm not the oldest in my classes and I hope that I comprehend my professors' lectures...either way, I am not giving up. So I'm dusting off the old backpack (well, actually I had to buy a new one--first since college--since Daisy destroyed my old one) and have completed my back to school shopping (Wal-mart still has 15 cent 1-subject notebooks). I am heading to campus to take a seat in the student chair. PhD school, here I come!

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