Reflections on the Past Five Years

SavannahLessons Learned, Make a Change, New Experiences Leave a Comment

This week, I had a Facebook memory pop up which showed me on my first day of senior year of high school. As I get ready to enter into my senior year of college (finally!!), I couldn’t help but to reflect on where I was then and where I am now.

            I remember that last first day of homeschool well. I was both excited and panicked. I was excited because this meant the end was upon me and I could leave the house and be a grown-up and do all the things most seniors in high school are thrilled about. The panic stemmed from a realization that I really had no idea what I wanted to do after college. I figured I would study English and become a freelance writer (hopefully, for a company that would hire me as a travel writer). However, that career path doesn’t necessarily make much money and I was worried that it would take all the enjoyment out of writing for me. I loved to write then and I still do now. There is nothing more relaxing to me than putting words onto a page and seeing something beautiful come out of it.

            I carried on this way for much of my senior year. The stress was incredibly high and the reality that I might just have to settle for a career I wasn’t completely sold on was setting in. I became overwhelmed by the weight of it all. I cried myself to sleep most nights of the week and couldn’t handle how terrible it all felt. Thankfully, I got a job subbing at my church’s preschool. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “That job saved me in more ways than one.” I knew from my first day in the classroom that I had to be a preschool teacher. There was something so natural about that feeling of working one-on-one with a child who was struggling to understand a difficult concept. It was like a lightbulb turned on and I suddenly saw what I had been created to do.

            So, I immediately put all my eggs in one basket and started researching (another thing I really enjoy doing, I’m weird, I know). I knew I wasn’t interested in teaching anything other than preschool and that created some very high standards for what I looking for in a program. Senior year of CPCC meant I had to get serious about my decision. It knocked my dream school out of the running – they simply couldn’t offer a competitive program that I felt would prepare me for the classroom. As my top school was now out of the running, I began feeling panicked again. I knew this meant that I would most likely be doing school online from home. I wanted to leave. I didn’t want to be that former homeschooler who never left her parent’s basement. However, God, in His goodness, had other plans. UNC Charlotte may not have been my dream school, but it had my dream program. Charlotte’s Childhood and Family Development degree is a dual major program where students learn about both typical early childhood education and early childhood special education. Special education has always had a piece of my heart and it has been so exciting to learn about both areas and then to pick a specialty. Seriously, I cannot recommend Charlotte enough, if you’re interested in anything involving early childhood!

            Now, my life looks way different than I thought it would. I’m still living at home (with no plans to move out any time soon), I finally made it to senior year after transferring schools in the middle of a pandemic, I managed to teach at my previous preschool for five school years, and I’m getting to student teach at a school for exceptional learning in a highly rated area for education. I’m literally living the dream. The thought is insane to me. I can’t believe how I have transitioned from a terrified, tearful, weighed down teenager to a confident, excited, and goal-setting adult.

            I couldn’t help but sob in the shower the other night as the tremendousness of this transition hit me. In that moment, I wished I could’ve gone back to senior in high school Savannah and told her all of the amazing things that would come out of this incredibly challenging time. I wish she could’ve understood how much better God’s plan is than our own human ways. I wish she would’ve met her wonderful Christian college-age friends earlier so she would’ve been able to know that she would be ok because she formed great friendships. Senior in high school Savannah couldn’t grasp that, but senior in college Savannah knows what she has and is clinging to it tight.

            I can’t wait to see what all this final year of undergrad brings. I hope it brings me closer to the Lord first and foremost, but I also hope I get to see an immense number of things I’ve only read about in textbooks in person. My Cooperating Educator (CE) is wonderful and I know we’re going to be a great pair together this year. Here’s to finishing stronger than we began and embracing the difficult, knowing it leads to great beauty.

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