They’ve logged their last all-nighter and taken their final final, packed up their apartments and turned in their keys. And for the class of 2010, each “last” packed a poignant punch as seniors said goodbye to Linfield. Andrew Platon ’10 and Krista Foltz ‘10 recorded some of the challenges and exhilaration of their final year at Linfield.
Sept. 2, 2009
It’s funny because I don’t remember the first day of junior year at all. I mean I can remember where I was living, what classes I had etc. but nothing about the actual day stands out in my mind. When it comes to the first day of senior year however, I see it as a memory that will stick semi-permanently in my mind. Facing the inevitable “last first day of school” was as unpleasant as I thought it would be. Walking down Renshaw Ave. toward my first class I realized that seventeen years of schooling has come down to this: my senior year in college. This is the year when I’m supposed to figure everything out and be excited about entering into the real world. Why is it then, that when I look at the scared and timid freshmen, I want nothing more than to be in their shoes? Maybe it’s the insane amount of fun I’ve had so far at Linfield getting involved with Residence Life, Linfield Activities Board, Math Club, study abroad, trips to the beach, movie nights…..and the list goes on. It might also be related to the tight-knit community that surrounds every student at Linfield. I feel so welcomed and safe here on campus that I’m slightly nervous to leave my Linfield support system that I’ve so carefully crafted during the past three years.
I can tell already that a partial theme of this year is going to be transitions/changes. This became evident to me at 8 a.m. when I walked into “my classroom” on my very first day of student teaching. Luckily the students would not start class for another week, so I had a chance to wrap my head around my new role in the classroom: student teacher Ms. Foltz. My student teaching experience has also led to my transition out of the Linfield academic community. During part-time student teaching I will only be taking math class and an education class at Linfield. This is very strange considering most other semesters I find myself with 4-5 classes and hours spent on campus. Since I’m no longer enrolled in any LC classes the number of peers that I interact with on a daily basis has diminished significantly. I can already tell that this “isolation” will be difficult for me and I worry a bit about full-time student teaching when I won’t have any Linfield classes at all.
I love seventh graders! This was my first week of student teaching with the kids actually in the classroom and I’m so excited for the semester. I have 26 students who are full of energy and enthusiasm and love the idea of learning about math. I spent most of the time observing the students and my cooperating teacher as well as learning everyone’s names. Getting acquainted with my teacher’s rules and expectations for the class was the best part of the week. I learned so much about teaching and education in just 4 days and I realize now how important experiential learning is to deep understanding. I can’t wait to actually start teaching lessons!
Life on campus is going well, though it’s strange not to have the seniors from last year walking around on campus. I notice it most when I visit the HPs, because I expect to see friends from last year hanging out on their balconies and instead I see totally new faces. Even though it’s strange at first, I know that new living arrangements and neighbors make for new friends. It’s been a similar experience in regards to my extracurricular activities. This year my primary focus is on Residence Life. I am the Residence Life Assistant (RLA) for Program Development which is a very new role for me. For the past two years I have been an RA in the halls and apartments where I interact with other Linfield students on a daily basis in regards to work orders, programming, concerns, roommate conflicts, etc. As an RLA I have now transitioned away from working with residents to working mostly with the RAs. I offer advice when it comes to programming for their halls and also keep track of the number of programs that each RA completes each month. It’s a completely new experience that I love so far! Working with the RAs to complete quality programs for their residents is really fun.
Sept. 14, 2009
I should probably mention that I’ve been in the process of completing a Fulbright application this fall and it’s consuming much of my life. This is a very stressful week because the applications are due on September 21! So soon. I have been frantically writing essays and proof-reading my application form to get everything ready in time. Debbie Olsen has provided an enormous amount of support to me and all of the other candidates and she’s been keeping me sane during this process. My Fulbright proposal involves math education research at secondary schools in Chile. I’m in contact with a math professor at the University of Chile who is already conducting research in this field, and I’m hoping to join her team. Ever since my study abroad experience to Oaxaca, Mexico in the spring of my sophomore year, I’ve been itching to travel again. I’ve invested (just like all of the other applicants) so much time into this application process that I can’t imagine what it’ll be like if my project isn’t funded. Nonetheless it’s been a worthwhile and rewarding experience that I don’t regret.
Sept. 21, 2009
This week I taught my first lesson at school. My teacher let me know 20 minutes before class that he thought I was ready and away I went. That day we were discussing multiplying fractions and it was magical. My students were attentive and focused and I actually managed to stay on pace, which can be difficult for new teachers. I finally had a chance to use my knowledge from my education classes and bring it all together into a 50-minute lesson. I know that I’m nowhere near ready to have my own class, but it was a very positive first experience. My cooperating teacher really knows his stuff and I feel so lucky to be able to work with him. The students are really starting to warm up to me and have even started asking me questions about directions or in-class work. The next task that I have is to pick a work sample topic for mid-October. During my work sample I’ll be teaching for 10 consecutive days that will encompass an entire unit. It’s basically like the Superbowl of part-time student teaching.
It wasn’t until I sat down to write this journal entry that I realized how busy I’ve actually been! I’ve unwittingly made it through a 1/3 of my senior year, and it still feels like the first week of school. A lot has been happening since my last journal entry. My Fulbright application is submitted and I’m now playing the always fun waiting game. I will be eternally grateful to Debbie Olsen for her support and guidance through the entire process and I cannot wait to hear whether or not my application has made it through the first round of committees.
Student teaching has been keeping me quite busy, because the honeymoon stage is definitely over! At the beginning of the school year I was a novelty—someone the students had a fascination with because I was out of the ordinary. Now I’m old hat, and my darling students love to test me with interesting behavior issues. Although it can be frustrating at times, I’ve come to appreciate the teaching profession even more in the last several weeks. I just completed my work sample and my students showed incredible gains in the areas we were working on. The thought of leaving this class in December is so sad and I’m trying not to dwell on it. The Oregonian has run several interesting articles on middle school math teachers in Oregon, and their strategies for improving test scores across the state. My experience at Patton Middle School and these articles have begun to change my mind about the age level I’d like to teach. At the beginning of student teaching, I would have bet my entire life savings that I was born to teach high school, but now I’m starting to think that middle school is my niche. I suppose I’ll just have to wait until I complete my full-time teaching to decide.
The newest development in my life is that I’ve started working for the Admission Office again. I worked there this summer and had such a blast! I love talking with prospective students about Linfield, because it doesn’t even feel like work. Right now I have the fantastic opportunity of talking with students who are in the process of applying to Linfield. I answer any questions they might have about Linfield and check in with them about the college application process. Most of the students I speak with are feeling stressed out about choosing the right college and aren’t sure exactly what they’re looking for. Most of the time, it’s all I can do not to shout “Come to Linfield!!” through the phone because I’m so excited about the fact that they might come to school here. My favorite question that prospective students ask is “What do you like about Linfield?” because the list goes on and on.
A typical day for me looks something like this:
I wake up between 5:15 and 5:30am to go to school. This means that just as the rowdy boys who live next door to me are going to bed, I’m hopping out of bed to teach the youth of today. I arrive at Patton Middle School between 6:45-7:00am and work with my cooperating teacher to prepare the day’s lessons. If I’m really lucky, I’ll even get a chance to grade some papers before school so I don’t have to bring them home. After teaching first period, I come back to Linfield for my 10:05 Abstract Algebra class. This is the last math class that I need for my math major, which is both exciting and sad. After my math class I either head to my Teaching Math class in Potter Hall, or to the Post Office where I have my work study job. Working at the post office is wonderful because I get to brighten peoples’ day by delivering care packages to them. I usually round out my day with some office hours for Residence Life, tutoring, math homework, and a run. By the time I make it back to my apartment, it’s usually 9:30pm and all I want to do is go to bed.
Thanksgiving Break is going to be a wonderful time full of laziness, a trip to Chicago to visit a dear friend, FOOD, and family. I think that a week break is exactly what I need to rejuvenate my spirits and gear up for finals week.
My last JanTerm was significantly different than any of my other ones. Instead of taking a class for an Linfield curriculum or another requirement, I took the brewing class because of a genuine interest in the subject. I learned so much from Professor Gilbert and my Dad and I have a new hobby to enjoy.
Feb. 11, 2010
As for this semester, I’m about to complete my first week of full-time student teaching. I am placed at McMinnville High School and will be teaching three sections of 9th grade Geometry, two sections of Algebra II, and one section of Algebra I for 10-12th graders. It has been quite an adjustment to the “adult” workday, because even though I’m used to being busy and occupied for that many hours in a day I usually have a random 30-40 minutes in between class for a break! I’m very excited to start compiling my resume and preparing for upcoming job fairs. I also found out that I made it to the next round of considerations for my Fulbright grant! Now that my application has made it through the U.S. committee, it will be sent to Chile where it will be reviewed a second time. The thing I’m looking forward to the most is planning my future and developing my skills as a teacher. The thing I’m not looking forward to is the stress that comes with the uncertainty of finding a job.
March 27, 2010
Where has spring semester gone?! I feel like it just started and yet we’re almost done with March. So much has been happening this spring that I don’t really know where to start. I think I’ll separate my journal by topic.
Being a senior:
The Wildcat Windup was last week and I showed up rushed after teaching to Riley 201 and quickly made some decisions about announcements, envelopes, etc. etc. The thing that I was not prepared for was the feeling I would have when the Jostens’ employee handed me my cap and gown. It was a combination of nausea, excitement, panic and joy. I have felt disconnected from my peers and the campus during my student teaching so it was nice to be able to look at the person next to me in line and have a quick “freak out moment” that involved some high pitched noises and jumping up and down.
Like I mentioned above, teaching is really consuming my life…but in a good way. I am teaching at McMinnville High School and I am typically at the school from 7:30-5:30 which really makes me feel like an adult. In addition to teaching two Algebra II classes, two 9th grade Geometry classes, and one Algebra I class, I am also tutoring in an after school program and coaching the long distance track team. It makes for busy days, but I am really enjoying it! Being at a high school has been quite different than my experience in the middle school. My students are more mature and self-sufficient, but they are also capable of giving me a little more sass. At 5’3″ I’m not very intimidating in comparison to some of my 6’2″ students, so its been an interesting balance. I’m learning so much from my cooperating teacher, a Linfield grad actually, and am convinced more than ever that teaching is what I’m meant to do.
Life after Linfield:
I just received some VERY exciting news: I was awarded by Fulbright grant to Chile!!!!! I am absolutely ecstatic and it feels nice to have some firm plans for next year. I will be leaving in March 2011 and it will be a 10-month research opportunity in Santiago, Chile. With the Fulbright grant in place, that means that my search for a teaching job will most likely be postponed for a year or two. I still plan to attend some job fairs and interviews for good practice. My plan after the Fulbright will be to attend graduate school to get either my Master’s or Ph.D. in mathematics.
That’s pretty much where my life is at right now, but I’ll keep you updated as things change….which they will.
May 17, 2010
To be honest, it does not feel like I’m graduating in less than 2 weeks. Full-time student teaching has consumed so much of my time that I haven’t allowed myself to become sentimental or even reflect on the fact that I’m about to wrap up my time at Linfield. On the one hand, I am so thankful for the distraction. Most other seniors that I know have started posting things like “May go away” or “I can’t believe it’s almost over” on their Facebook status and I’m just way too excited about other things to be feeling that way! On the other hand, maybe I’m doing myself a disservice by not having that “true” senior experience.
My viewpoint is that I have spent the last four years working my tail off to be successful and I’m finally to the point where I’m seeing my dreams come true. Graduating from college should be the spring board that catapults me into my future career, not something that makes me dread May 30th. I have formed lasting relationships with countless people at Linfield, and while it will be sad to leave them, I know it’s part of growing up. Many of my close friends graduated from Linfield last year and even though we may live in different parts of the state or the U.S., we still stay in close contact. I think that’s why I’m not nervous to say good-bye to everyone, because in a technological world like ours I’m only a webcam or mouse-click away from the people I love.
The few reflections I have made about my impending graduation have been about the people who have made this happen for me. More than anyone, I am grateful to my parents who have encouraged me every step of the way in my educational journey. I have been lucky to have their emotional (and financial!) support during my time at Linfield and I could not have been this successful without them. There are also some fabulous people at Linfield who drastically changed my life for the better: Jeff MacKay, associate dean of students; Stephen Bricher, professor of mathematics; Gennie Harris, assistant professor of multicultural education; and Dan Fergueson, director of college activities. Without these lovely individuals I would not feel as prepared for graduation as I do right now.
On Sunday, May 30th when I cross the stage in the Oak Grove I will do so with tears of absolute joy in my eyes and a sense of accomplishment in my heart. I believe I made the most of my college experience and I don’t have any “I really wish I had…..” thoughts about the last four years. My memories at Linfield will travel with me throughout the rest of my life, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Go Wildcats!
Sept. 22, 2009
My feelings as I move into my senior year of college:
- Appreciative – I can’t thank my parents and brother enough for all they’ve done for me to be able to make it this far and become the person I am today. I am very grateful for Linfield and its many opportunities to become involved. Serving as treasurer for Circle K, a volunteer service club, has provided me with valuable leadership and business skills I can employ in my career. My professors, especially Dr. Malcolm Greenlees and Professor Denise Farag, have had a big influence on my future career goals. Each has provided me with priceless personal and professional advice. Kristi Mackay, a Career Services Counselor, has also helped me immensely in the job application process. Linfield provides so many beneficial resources that everyone should utilize. All in all, everyone I have encountered at Linfield has made an impact on me and shaped me into a better person. Some have improved my assertiveness while others have increased my awareness of the environment.
- Excitement – I’m ready to make this one of the best years of my life. I want to make the most of my final year in college by exploring everything there is to offer before starting a new chapter in life. There are so many things I would like to do before my senior year concludes. My list includes Blazer games, adventuring through downtown Portland, journeying to the coast, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, and the many concerts that pass through the area.
- Apprehensive – It’s daunting that I’m about to enter the so called “real world” in 8 months. After almost two decades in school, it will be challenging to transition from school life to work life. The state of the economy is also affecting the number of jobs available, which causes a bit of uncertainty. But for now, I’m ready to enjoy the ride.
It’s quite intimidating to think that I’m not applying for just any job but for a career. While the process is the same, the mentality is quite unique. It’s starting to dawn on me that these applications have the ability to change my life. The biggest challenge for me to overcome is the interview process. Sitting in a room with a Partner or CEO of a firm can be nerve-racking. However, through the help of my mentors such as Kristi Mackay, career services program coordinator, I have gained more confidence and have become more comfortable.
My first week went by without a glitch. After three years at Linfield, the transition from summer to school was simple. The shortened week made it much easier. My classes are all very relevant to my anticipated career in accounting, which makes everything more interesting. It was kind of depressing thinking about how this was my last first week of a new school year at Linfield. Reuniting with all of my friends and enjoying the beautiful weather highlighted the week.
This fall hasn’t been that much different compared to previous years in terms of academics. After three years at Linfield, I have grown accustomed to the routine of homework, research papers and exams. The main difference is the job search. It’s a lot of work, but I hope it pays off in the future. The search for a career also creates some variety and new challenges to overcome in my senior year. It will be exciting to see where I end up after Linfield.
The interesting thing about being an accounting major is that we go through the recruitment and job search process in the fall, unlike many other disciplines. It allows accounting firms to plan ahead while lightening up our last semester in college. Currently, I am in the middle of the job hunt and have done a few interviews with various firms. The hardest part about recruitment is that it falls in the middle of midterms, thus a busy October. This requires me to study not only for midterms but also for interviews.
The biggest disappointment of my senior year thus far is that I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in my right knee playing flag football. This devastating event has ended my intramural sports career at Linfield. It’s depressing to know that I won’t be able to participate in IM Frisbee, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and softball. I am looking forward to IM bowling on crutches though.
So far this year, I have made it to the coast to take part in some skim boarding and soak up the late summer sun. I have also made it up to Seattle to enjoy a Jay Z concert at Key Arena. I am eager to find out what the rest of the year brings forth.
Nov. 8, 2009
My semester is flying by so quickly! I don’t think I’ve had a slow week yet. I have been so busy with school, work, friends, and the job hunt. I just completed accounting recruitment for full time positions and received an offer from Geffen Mesher, a local accounting and business consulting firm! I will be starting in the Summer or Fall of 2010 depending on staffing needs. It’s really exciting!
I start my typical day at 8 a.m. with a glass of milk and a toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. I like to mix it up every day and go with a different flavor ranging from cinnamon raisin to blueberry to everything bagels. Then, depending on the day I attend class between 9 and 3:30. I have three classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and one class on Fridays. I enjoy a simple, homemade turkey sandwich with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions for lunch. After class, I work as a recreational leader at Memorial Elementary after school program. From 2:30 to 3:30, I help fifth graders with homework or read with them. My favorite homework to help with is math since there are so many ways to explain a problem and help the student learn. From 3:30 to 5:15, my fellow recreational leaders and I supervise playground and gym activities as well as crafts for the children. I love playing four-square on the playground and dodge ball in the gym with all the children. However, the injury of my knee has limited my time in the dodge ball arena. At 5:15, I go to the Linfield Treatment Center for an hour to do rehab for my knee. The best part of my day comes after rehab when I go home to a family style dinner. My roommates, Peter D’Aboy and Andy Beagle, are some of the best cooks I’ve lived with…after my parents, of course. After a scrumptious meal, it’s off to hit the books and get my homework done. I try to get to bed by midnight each night to get a healthy eight hours of sleep.
I will be returning home to spend Thanksgiving with my family and friends in Sparks, Nev. Like every year, I am looking forward to all the turkey, stuffing, green beans and mashed potatoes. My week will also include doctor appointments to prepare for ACL reconstruction surgery that will occur after finals.
After recovering from surgery, my January Term was very laid back. I spent a lot of time going to physical therapy to rehab my knee. My knee, for the most part, is doing much better, and I plan to spend a lot of my time this semester working on getting it back to full strength. I was also able to start an online class through the University back home. All of my free time enabled me to get a majority of the assignments done before starting my final semester.
Feb. 12, 2010
I had no idea these past four years would fly by like they did. I’m going to miss all those late night study sessions in the library during finals week, staying up until the early morning hours in the middle of the week, and watching Office re-runs instead of doing homework.
I’m looking forward to taking it easy this semester. I’ve been taking 18-credit semesters for the past two years, but since I did an internship this last summer, my credit load has decreased significantly. I’m excited for all the free time I will have to enjoy my last semester. On the other hand, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye. I’m ready to move onto the next chapter but I also want to make the most of my last few months of college life.
March 29, 2010
Spring term has been surprisingly less chaotic than I first thought. I’m really enjoying my light load of two accounting classes which include Federal Taxation and Advanced Accounting. I am also taking Soccer Coaching Theory, Mental Health and Yoga, which are all interesting. I played competitive soccer until I arrived at Linfield so getting back in the game from a different perspective is a lot of fun. Coaching is something that I definitely think I could be doing in a couple years. Mental Health requires a lot of self reflection and meditation so it is a nice class to have during my last semester. I have never done Yoga before so the class is very enlightening and relaxing.
My spring break was really eventful. I drove down to Redlands and Los Angeles, Calif., with fellow seniors Andrew Pohl and Ashley Bennet. We were able to go on a guided tour of the Mojave Desert through the University of Redlands. We hiked on lava flow surfaces and on an inactive volcano known as Amboy Crater. We also hiked around the Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree has many unique looking trees and crazy rock formations which we were able to climb. It was a trip! I was also able to go to my first NHL game with my cousin. The LA Kings played the Colorado Avalanche in the Staples Center. Pohl and I were able to explore LA and visit Venice Beach and Hollywood. The 32-hour plus road trip was well worth it since we were able to do so many things.
As I enter this last month of college, one thing that comes to mind is how fast this whole experience flew by. It is incredible to think that I’m about to be a college graduate in the next few weeks. Knowing that I have a plan after graduation makes it somewhat difficult to stay focused but I keep reminding myself to finish strong. Fortunately, May is turning out to be a pretty mellow month so far. I hope this relaxing stretch of school proves to be beneficial once I hit that last hurdle of final exams and projects.