Reflections and Projections

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014 by admin under Careers, Student support, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , ,
PIC13636 Dec. Commencement

Congratulations Class of 2014!

 

Student Perspective Post by Matt Barrett
Graduate Assistant for Communications

To wrap up this year’s blogs, I’d like to reflect upon my time at UNCG and make some projections about what is to come.  Needless to say, I have enjoyed my first year as a graduate student.  Most of my blogs are about the wonderful things that UNCG offers and how happy I am to be here.  But I’d like to take a moment to mention the budget cuts and all of the people that they’ve affected.  Just about everyone I’ve spoken to remembers the emails we’ve gotten, especially the scary ones that make it seem like there’s no money left.  I don’t know how much I can say without getting in trouble, but I think it’s a real shame that our state doesn’t value education the way it should.  I’ve met with a few staff members who have been forced to look for other jobs, and I get the sense that everyone at UNCG supports each other, whether we’re lucky enough to stay or need to apply for something else.  I don’t think any of the blame should fall on our university, and I know that everyone who’s been affected will move onto something even greater.  In a previous blog I mentioned how I’ve developed a “graduate school family,” and I think it’s become more and more true as the year’s gone.  Despite these budget cuts, everyone has continued to work and thrive and to keep on pushing, and I feel a tremendous sense of hope for all of us, regardless of these financial limitations.

All my life I’ve been around educators.  My mom was a second grade teacher; my dad taught biology; my uncle, gym; my aunt, preschool; and my grandfather, wood shop.  In high school I wanted to be a math teacher, and in college I changed my mind, hoping to become an English professor.  Somehow I second-guessed myself again, and now I’m studying to be a professor of creative writing.  While my goals have evolved throughout the years, I’ve always wanted to work in education, and I had the chance this past semester to teach my first class.  I served as a teaching intern for a course on Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and while I had never read him before (nor did I understand Middle English), I loved standing up in front of a classroom and asking my students to think.  At first I was terrified: my legs were shaking and my voice sounded like Kermit the Frog—but there was something about the classroom atmosphere that made me realize we were all learning together.  I taught twice throughout the semester and loved it even more the second time, and if there’s one thing I hope for the future, it’s that there’s more room for aspiring teachers in the education system.

Being in a university has forced me to experience a lot of things that had terrified me before.  One was public speaking, which I’ve overcome thanks to the teaching internship.  Another was interviewing.  When I got this assistantship, I didn’t know how I’d be able to interview someone, and I sent requests via email to speak with the people we’d feature in Horizons.  I would have rather conducted the whole interview via email—yet when I sat down to talk with someone, I realized that most people actually like to discuss what they’ve been doing in school or outside in the community.  The people I’ve spoken with are passionate about what they’ve done, and for that reason, I am no longer afraid to sit down with strangers and ask them a few questions.  While I spent two years in “the real world” between college and grad school, I was never pushed outside of my comfort zone the way that I have in graduate school.

It goes without saying that I believe in the education system.  And I believe that the system will continue to thrive, no matter how many hurdles are thrown in its way.  As I approach this summer break, I’ve started to say my goodbyes to the people I’ve met throughout the year.  I wouldn’t trade any of the opportunities I’ve had, and I hope that those of you who read my blogs feel like I’ve said at least one thing of moderate intelligence.  I’ll be back again next year, so make sure you stop by this website and read some more.  I wish you all a great summer, and for those of you who are graduating or moving on to new positions, I know you’ll do well no matter where you go.  And for now, I bid you a temporary adieu.

PIC13547 CommencementPIC13380 Interlink Garden 023PIC13497 CHA Linda Brady 056PIC13094 Salvation SelectPIC13835 Minerva ApplesQuad LifeUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroPIC13193 Earth DayPIC13543 Counseling
Photography courtesy of University Photographers Chris English and David Wilson.

Editor’s note:  I want to personally thank Matt for his hard work on our GradSchoolBlog and Horizons.  He will return in the Fall and continue to cover items of interest to the UNCG community in this blog. Unfortunately budget cuts are affecting our funding for Horizons  (The Graduate School Newsletter).  We will only publish a Fall 2014 issue for the upcoming academic year.  

We hope you have enjoyed reading Matt’s blog posts and will stay tuned for his return in August.  Best wishes for a restorative summer to all our students and faculty!  

Denise Sherron
Enrolled Student Services
The Graduate School