By Amanda Whitaker
To steal a line from every other senior at Washington College (or any senior at any school, for that matter) I can’t believe it’s almost over. Four years: what can I say? It just goes quick. In terms of clichés, that one is as true as they come, and the fact that I can say that from experience now is just… really freaking weird.
Something else that’s weird? The sentimentality that comes with all of it. Therefore, I give you the one and only moment of poignancy in my personal Elm history:
At the end of this brick road known otherwise as my collegiate career, before I turn down the next diverging path, I can look back at where I was when I first started down this road and how far I have come. I’ve ultimately found that the best moments were the ones that required struggle. The best victories weren’t those that were handed to me, or acquired with dumb luck. The best victories were the ones that I had to fight every moment of every day of my life for–the ones that I faced with nothing more and nothing less than passion, patience, and unadulterated bravery. Unfortunately for me, something else I’ve ultimately found is that I haven’t had that kind of victory yet.
Sure, there’s that whole “graduating” thing. I’ll be proud of myself when I get that diploma, don’t get me wrong. There will be parties. Yes, that’s a plural. But I don’t feel like at any point in the road toward my diploma did I struggle endlessly with unprecedented fervor.
There is a level of relief and excitement that goes along with graduation. There are also concerns and, well, the crippling fears that go with entering the real world. Especially when the realization hits that the greatest struggles are yet to come.
As far as the relief and excitement part of post-graduation goes, I was recently accepted into Teach for America. For those who don’t know what that is, TFA is basically a program dedicated to eliminating education inequality in America. In exchange for my two year commitment to teaching in a low-income, high-needs school in this country, I will receive both an accelerated teaching certification and the satisfaction that comes with doing a little bit of good for the world.
The acceptance rate is a little more than 10 percent. Not the hardest program to get into, but hard enough to establish some well-deserved pride within any individual who obtains the honor to be able to say that he or she is a TFA corps member.
So, there’s the pride and there’s the glory. But then there’s also the reality of the situation: I’m going to get thrown into a classroom with a bunch of impressionable kids staring at me with dependent faces, their futures hanging in the balance and ultimately in my hands. It’s going to be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also going to be the hardest thing I have ever done.
In short, I’m terrified. But the fact that I have that fire within myself for achievement is what gives me that small bit of a crazy little thing called hope.
And hey, I have a job after graduation. A pride booster within itself, it’s got to stand for something.
To once again steal a line, this time from one of my staff writers (I’m borrowing your trademark, Alex), cheers. Cheers to The Elm. Cheers to WC. Cheers to Chestertown. Cheers to the pre-life existence known as the undergraduate experience. Cheers to all. It’s been real.