Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Youth Development Leadership

Exactly 3 weeks from today is Christmas Day.... that is, if the world doesn't end first. :)

The good news is that even if the world does end, I'll have successfully earned my diploma for my masters in youth development leadership. Talk about a great gift!  I graduate the day before the incorrectly prophesied end of the world.  Plus, I'm gonna look super tacky cute in my orange shoes for graduation!

Tonight is the last night of class I will spend getting my first masters.  I've been in school for the past 19 years, with the exception of the semester I took off my first year of teaching.  It's ending, and it's a little bittersweet.  I love learning.  I really do.  I think it's fun to look up new things, especially with the onset of the verb "googling."  I research all kinds of things.  I study my curriculum regularly to make sure that I can challenge my students and adequately answer their questions.  I'm constantly looking into new ways to try things, ways to be more efficient, new strategies, etc.  I love learning.  I mean, I could arguably do without the stress of finals and tests and major deadlines, but the process is almost addicting.  No worries, I still have two graduate level classes to finish my gifted and talented (aka how to teach brainiacs) add-on that I'll be taking in the spring/ summer.

When I was in college, people talked about how much better college was than high school because you really got to choose your area of study and study your passions.  Since I attended a liberal arts school, there was a very similar vein of conversation about finishing your general education requirements and getting into your major classes.  

Grad school is even better!  I got to take an area that I am passionate about, that really gets me going and motivated and excited, and spend 2 years studying it.  I got to work with (and study under) well-known researchers, leaders in the field, and just overall inspirational people.  And that's just the faculty!

My cohort is phenomenal.  We live and practice youth development and youth development leadership not just in all regions of South Carolina or the US, but in different countries.  We work (sort of) in different disciplines.  We have similar, but diverse, passions.  Some of us work in faith-based organizations, some of us work for the federal and state governments, some of us work for non-profits, and some of us work for private organizations.  

I have learned as much from my peers as I have my professors, and I think that is a truly phenomenal aspect of our program.  I've applied much of what I've learned already in daily life, but I'm looking forward to being able to do so even more and maybe find a way to further channel that passion in the future.

Most of us. :)

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