Friday, February 18, 2011

My Alma Mater

Well this week's Show Us Your Life is all about alma maters.  I wish (sometimes) that I could tell you that I had a typical college experience, but that's something I kind of missed out on.  I took a two-year community college scholarship right out of high school, partly because it was free and partly because of the fine arts program. I had a great time in the plays and choir and playing secretary.  Little did I know that I would soon make a decision that would change the course of my life.

Not only did I meet people who remain a big part of my life to this day (Hi, girls!), community college was where I decided to become a teacher.  Teaching was something that I had spent most of my life sure I did not want to do. (Both of my parents are teachers, after all.)  But through a series of events, I ended up joining AmeriCorps. 
AmeriCorps is a program that does many different things, but in my area, we tutored and mentored at-risk kids in local school districts.  It took me about five minutes to discover that it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  You are able to do two years of service, and get paid a stipend as well as money for school, so when I transferred into the Teacher Education Program at SIU, I decided to continue with AmeriCorps.  While it was a great opportunity, it meant living on campus wasn't really a viable option (as my volunteer site was almost an hour away from campus), so I became a commuter and continued living at home.  (Free room and board is always preferable to cafeteria food and a roommate who annoys you.  Of course I was still living with my pre-teen baby sister, so...)

So, I don't have stories about my Greek affliations, wild college parties, or the big Homecoming game.  But I do have great memories of laughing with the lunch crew and with the girls (and a few guys) in our cohort group.  And best of all, I found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  And isn't that really the best thing college can give you?


  1. How awesome to know what you wanted to do from early on! That and free room and board seriously saved you on the studnet loan front which is a huge blessing!

  2. What great memories! I have heard amazing things about Americorps! And I don't have any Greek affiliations too!


  3. I am a middle school teacher also! I have taught 7th grade math for 7 years. This is the first time I have heard of Americorps! So neat!

  4. Another fellow teacher here. I love your college story! Sounds like you had a great experience!

  5. I had a good friend of mine spend a year, or maybe it was 2, with Americorps. I think it's a great program that not only gives the person serving a great opportunity, but also is able to help out the community!


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