5/30/2013 11:14 AM
By Ellen Greenberg
I feel that embarking on a new situation is extremely scary and comes with constant worry and doubt. People who appear confident might have that as a front so no one sees their fear, but everyone feels it. We wonder if this is the right choice, how long until I know for sure that this is what I want, or do I even like my decision?
People want to know what the easy way out is. Well, guess what? If you have the drive and want to be successful, there is no easy way out. We as patients and people know this on a daily basis. If you breathe, you are going to take chances and risks.
This is how I felt three years ago when I decided to return to school and give teaching a second try, but this time I had a few advantages on my side. The college had a satellite campus 15 minutes away from my parents’ house, which I’d just moved back to. This time I did not have to commute for over an hour and work simultaneously. I also had the luxury of not paying rent and being able to choose the age of the students I wanted to work with.
After much consideration and fear I applied to graduate school again—yes, for the third time. Well, it is true about what they say, “third time’s the charm.” This time it was.
I made a few wonderful friends and had some excellent professors. I lucked out because I had my favorite professors multiple times. My friends and professors assisted me in completing my assignments while I was in the hospital or at home recovering from multiple belly taps. I knew at these moments that I had made the right decision. I had wonderful student teaching experiences and through this work and a thesis, I pushed myself harder than I ever thought I could. When I felt as if I had no family, school was my family. I learned that I am actually creative and can make those feared lesson plans.
The amount of literal blood, sweat and tears—and I mean blood, sweat and tears—that went into this endeavor was no small feat. The day that my commencement regalia arrived, I pulled it out, looked at my hood that goes over your head and hangs down the back of your gown, and I cried. I didn’t know that my reaction would be so strong, but I cried full of happiness and pride, knowing that I have come so far and would be walking with my friends at Radio City Music Hall.
I still have one class left to finish until I am eligible to receive my diploma, but I have my hood and no one can take that and the feeling of accomplishment away from me. I wear it proudly as a sign of strength and commitment. This week I will even be inducted into the international teachers honor society. Yes, the one with the health issues and special education classes is a certified teacher and in the honor society.
So take it day to day and keep working at whatever you start—you’ll get there!
Ellen Jenny Greenberg is from New York, where she also currently resides. A child life specialist, Ellen has had five open heart surgeries and is obtaining a Masters Degree in Early Childhood/Early Child Special Education. Her congenital heart defects include transposition of the great arteries, ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, tricuspid atresia and single ventricle. Ellen sings cabaret regularly and hopes to sing, write and speak for the CHD cause as her journey in life continues.
Copyright ©2013 ACHA
2 comment(s) so far...
By Tina Rinaldi on
5/30/2013 11:49 AM
Re: The Hood That Made Me Cry
Great blog post, Ellen! I went back to graduate school when I was in my 30s, after 2 open heart surgeries. I had a similar educational struggle for some of the same reasons, but the blue baby, high-school drop out ended up with a BA with Honors and then an MA with research distinction. I now run the graduate program that I graduated from 12 years ago. I had exactly the same reaction to seeing my hood for the first time and wearing it. Walking in my regalia to receive my diploma was the best day of my life up to that point! (even though, like you, I had one more requirement to fulfill before *actual* graduation).
CONGRATULATIONS! Wear your pride. You deserve it!
By Ellen Jenny Greenberg on
6/3/2013 8:04 AM
Re: The Hood That Made Me Cry
That is so inspirational! I love that you went back and are an administrator at your college. I keep saying regalia and people say "What?" to me. It sort of cracks me up because to me it's as simple as my name, but I use to not know what it meant either.
LOL! Stay in touch.