decompression and reflection

By Colleen Boyle

This week has brought a lot of things to forefront of my mind. While I have been long frustrated with feeling unaccomplished, this week a lot of new reflections have been present in my mind, and its been a while since I’ve updated my blog.

One of the assignments that have been required in my Teaching Internship at Roosevelt University is to create a CV, Cover Letter, and Statement of Teaching Philosophy. As someone who has very little training and experience in teaching, this presents a perplexing number of internal conflicts. Though I feel very much like I have mastered skills with writing and critical literary analysis, I have very little, it seems, to offer a teaching position.

We discussed and looked at examples of the above mentioned documents in class for two weeks, and I felt incredibly incapable of creating my own version of these things. Yeah, I’ve written cover letters and resumes but the cover letter for a teaching job is so much more detailed and specific to something I have little experience in.

But there was no point in putting off the creation of these documents. I thought, “what do I have to lose?” especially since my degree won’t be complete for another year and applying for teaching jobs won’t be til Spring 2013 or Fall 2013. That seems so far away.

I wrote the CV and found that it wasn’t horribly lacking anything. I may not have a lot of teaching experience, but I do actually have a lot of accomplishments on the academic level. Writing a statement of teaching philosophy was a bit nerve racking, but I completed it and felt like I was true to myself in what I said. It needs improvement, but doesn’t everything?

So then I got to the cover letter. I first wrote a cover letter to a position at Moraine Valley Community College. As I wrote, I felt a great deal of pride in myself. I begin to think of the girl who went to Moraine in 2003. I was 17, and I had no clue where I would be in a few years. I wasn’t entirely sure about my major, my abilities, my dreams, etc… Now I can look back and think about all I’ve been through and feel proud that I never quit, that I worked and paid my way to a college education, and then even had the nerve to go back for another degree. Yes, I have about $20,000 in student loans but I also have a lot of writing skills, research abilities, and now the ability to help others in their writing and academic life.

Then I think about the other things I’ve done. I pay for my own apartment; I have no credit card debt; and I even managed the strength to travel in Europe alone for 5 weeks without a friend in thousands of miles (though I made plenty while there). If I could go back in time and find the 17 year old me who went to Moraine Valley, what would I say to her? I would say absolutely nothing because the journey was hard but amazing. That girl was shy and unsure of what life had in store for her. I’m still a little unsure but what’s the fun in having all the answers? I wouldn’t be the person I am if I didn’t work so hard even without knowing if I could succeed.

After reflecting back to these things, I begin to consider what lays ahead of me. It probably isn’t marriage and children, and I am perfectly okay with that. Those things come to us when they want to, maybe not when we’re ready but they happen when they happen. Next Spring will be my first conference presenting a paper I wrote in grad school titled “Film Adaptations reshaping gender roles and the characters of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein“. And just when I began to think presenting at a conference wasn’t that big of a deal, I got to see the look of pride and excitement on my professor’s face when I told her about how I was presenting the paper I wrote for her class.

There is so much more to look forward to now. I want to get a paper published, complete my Master’s Thesis, and volunteer to help build my CV. I’m not trying to brag or gloat about what I’ve done. There’s still a lot to accomplish but I think it helps to stop and realize where you’ve been before you can move on.

I have many other things to look forward to, watching my boyfriend succeed in college and starting my career. I plan to do more traveling, keep working on making my lifestyle healthier, and somewhere down the line, apply to a PhD program. I feel like this blog has been a little long winded but I really needed to recognize all of this. I used to be shy, scared, quiet, opinionated but silent, smart but simplistic, and I have to give lots of credit to the people who gave me inspiration and support. Every bit made all the difference between failing and succeeding.

I’m not even sure if I should be saying I’ve succeeded but I’ve definitely found a path.


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