Reflections

Ah – my first fall semester is behind me. I don’t know how it passed so quickly! It seems as though time has been a prominent theme this term. On many occasions I have felt that I needed to carve out time for myself so that I could enjoy life in addition to academics.

Ever elusive time has also been a repeated theme among educators that I’ve had the pleasure of working with while student teaching. Consistently, cooperating teachers and other teachers in those environments wish for more time to accomplish more of what they wanted to do with their students.

With these thoughts I remind myself how crucial it is to make the most of every day. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of worry and stress, sitting in front of a computer toiling over research. Our professors want quality, insightful work, but I doubt they want us to sacrifice experiences outside of school for the sake of immaculate APA style.

That’s one of the beautiful things I’ve found thus far at Bank Street – my professors realize that their students are people with multi-faceted lives. When I recently expressed concern over the quality of a final paper to a professor, she told me to submit it as is, after asking me if I felt I had expressed my developing personal educational theory clearly. From what she knows of me thus far, being my professor and advisor, she encouraged me to stop editing. Maybe it’s just me, but I can endlessly edit and re-organize papers. Much as with most artists and their work, I feel my writing is never “done.”

Generally, I try not to get too stressed out over assignments and other obligations, and focus on the big picture. Yes, it’s important to work hard and strive in our degree programs, but life doesn’t have to stop! It’s okay if you spend time with friends or go to the cinema, or just take a walk. In fact, I think it benefits my work when I step away and have separate experiences.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I think I have “it” all figured out – far from it (I hope I never escape Piaget’s idea of disequilibrium / equilibrium!). I just try to operate under the belief that most stress is unnecessary. Whenever I can I help my peers, even if it’s just by commiserating. I’m happy to give an opinion about font choice for a final presentation, or edit a paper. Never underestimate the power in exchanging stressors over a meal or a drink (Or in many cases this past term, over keyboards in the computer lab)!

Stress will never cease in our lives, so we all need to figure out different ways of coping with it for ourselves. Much in the way we learn here at Bank Street, that everyone learns differently, we all certainly cope in different ways, just as we get through our coursework in different ways. I think there is great value in sharing with each other as students how we get through, what we find works for ourselves, and perhaps also what doesn’t.

I really enjoyed this past term at Bank Street and I am already looking forward to the next. Hopefully I’ll be able to strike a similar balance between my academic life and my personal life, and continue to enjoy all that this magnificent city has to offer.

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