Wow! What a full year! So many changes.
This time last year I was freaking out about my new position of Graduate Assistant that I was going to start in the Spring Semester. I was excited, yes, but so stressed that I couldn't sleep. For weeks. I wondered if I could do it. I wondered if I could fake being an English teacher long enough to fool my students into learning. The day I started I got a stomach bug and had horrible diarrhea the whole night. I got no sleep that night but went in to work the next day dizzy with excitement and anxiety.
And I had a great semester. I learned that I was a really good actress and that I faked confidence especially well. I also learned that I knew a lot more than I thought I did. And that I needed to know a lot more than that to stay ahead of 40 freshmen. I absolutely loved teaching and had a lot of personal moments with my students outside the classroom where they shared their life struggles with me--probably my favorite and most rewarding part of teaching.
I also wrote my thesis proposal--about a week before it was due. STRESSFUL.
Over the summer I tackled two huge projects = starting my thesis and potty training the boys. I didn't really either accomplish my goals for either before school started again. I had one thesis chapter (plus another one researched) done. And I had succeeded in getting the boys to peed IN the potty (an improvement from AT, AROUND, or NOT AT ALL) occasionally.
The fall semester brought some brand new adventures. The boys started preschool! It was a huge struggle at first--Micah cried every morning for FIVE WEEKS. And I had my share of tears too. Overall, it was a pretty good experience. The boys loved their teachers and "friends" and kept VERY busy during the day. We also had to stamp out some bad habits (shooting people with pretend guns, and bad table manners) and reinforce good habits (saying "please" and "thank you"; apparently the ELC didn't make the kids use these manners on a regular basis (????)). Thankfully, their teachers were very consistent about potty training and the boys are doing great right now (not completely trained but going in the toilet about 95% of the time. We still use pull-ups for naps, going out, and bed time).
And the fall also brought two new classes of students (which I adored) and thesis, thesis, thesis. Oh. my. word. I hope I am never as stressed as I was this past semester. I was juggling husband, kids, housework, church, teaching two classes, taking two classes, and writing my thesis. Everything non-essential (and some essential things) were thrown to the wayside. There was no time to get a haircut, go the the dentist, eye doctor, or go shopping for a scrap of new clothing for me or the boys. I am SO behind (minus the haircut now!) on all of these appointments (well, clothes shopping is a bit of a luxury). I rarely showered two days in a row; my laundry pilled up and up and up. Over fall break (2 days) I did 10-12 loads. My life revolved around writing that darn thesis.
The end result was worth it. Completing my thesis is one of my greatest life accomplishments to date (just behind breastfeeding the boys for 17 months). I am so proud of the original research and writing I did.
And I am so happy and proud that I accomplished my goal of completing my Master's degree. When I started this blog two years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was scared, timid, and had little confidence in myself. I was scared of entering the work force so I went to get my M.A. Crazy, huh? The thing is, I was scared of getting the Master's degree too. At the beginning, I felt like everyone was smarter than me, had read more (of the RIGHT) books than I had, and knew what they wanted to do with their lives.
My confidence in who I am and my personal and academic abilities has grown exponentially over the past two years and over the last year in particular. I am no longer afraid of moving forward, of putting myself out in the workforce, or of standing up in front of a classroom of students. Granted, there will always been those first day (or week? month?) jitters, but doing GSA this past year gave me the experience and confidence I needed and wanted so much.
I am still trying to figure out who I am as a teacher and scholar. But I recognize that teacher/scholar now; she isn't a stranger to me anymore. In fact, we are close friends. I really, really like the person I have become.
My bigger adventure this coming year, is to figure out what type of mother I am and how to carry out that incredible role. The boys will be at home again full time (minus having a sitter on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons while I work). I feel like I need to figure out who my kids are now. When I started my degree, they had just turned one--they were still babies! Now they are little boys who are learning to explore the world around them and express themselves. And it is my job to help them discover the world and who they are in the world. It is a daunting job. But I am excited to get to spend more time with them (we will be doing some preschool curriculum at home!) but I am praying for patience and strength as well.
I think my key word for 2011 is BALANCE. I want to learn to balance work and home. Wifehood and motherhood. I also want to take better care of myself. I need to make those dentist and eye appointments. I need to exercise on a regular basis. Heck, I need to shower every day. Baby steps, right? :) Plus, I want to spend time developing my skills as a writer--and this year, not a thesis writer: a creative writer.
Wanna know my really, really big resolution for 2011? Get a story published, or at least be in the process by the time 2012 rolls around.
I am excited. Bring on the new year!