Thursday, May 22, 2014

TBT - This one time, at grad school...

I didn't realize I wanted to be a teacher until my last semester of undergrad. By then, I had my English degree, but wanted some actual training as a teacher. I took my GRE and applied to one program, the only program that looked good to me...Proteach. 

This is a program for teachers at the University of Florida. I spent ten months in Gainesville learning how to teach, actually teaching, and forming some of the tightest bonds I've ever made. It's true what they say about bonds forged in fire...because Proteach was definitely trial by fire, and the people I met definitely became my best friends.
That said, I got ONE photo in my time there of the work I had due at the end...everything else shows the great times we had together.

It all started out normally...our cohort was made of about 21 students focusing on getting our Masters of Education in English for grades 6-12.

Early in the year, gathered around a photo of Dr. Pace, the head of our program.
But constant research starts to wear on you, and soon we found ourselves doing what most young adults do to relax...eating M&Ms and watching The Real Housewives on Bravo.

But we were teachers in training, which meant themed nights were a must:
Our holiday party saw just one ugly sweater.
Teachers know how to get wild, you guys. Believe me.
Our first real Proteach party.
Then this happened. I have to say, men who become teachers are truly a special breed.
Sometimes we needed to get out...Luckily, Gainesville has quite a few places to choose from. The fun nearly drove us mad.
Becca, Kim, PJ, and Kathleen enjoying Drag Night at UC.
I believe in staging cute photos even in the sweatiest of conditions.
But then again, we are teachers. A little karaoke and game night is always a good way to unwind.
We became known as the Ambiguously Awesome Trio. 10 points if you get the reference.
Jem and me belting out the tunes.
Admittedly, I released a lot of my stress through ridiculous comic-drawing in class. Teachers make the worst students.
In the comic above, ghost-me sabotages ghost-Kim's chances of getting into Heaven by making her cuss in front of some Heavenly gatekeeper because she killed us on our way to our teaching placement by running into a road taco. Yes. This happened.

(We ate a LOT of Moe's and had many delirious post-workday conversations in the car. Can you tell?)

 Still, we had to find time to fit in our work. Toward the end, we had multiple giant projects due. Being a good student/teacher means knowing how to stay organized. That, of course, means using post-it notes. Because calendars are for newbs.

So many acronyms...
Eventually, the fun had to come to an end. Before we knew it, we were graduating. 

We staged a banquet for our professors, complete with skits, poems, and speeches. And lots of sorority poses.
We almost look like we're ready to be professionals.
The cohort on the last day. We made it!
 We split off to different parts of the US, but the kind of friendships you make under pressure aren't easily forgotten. We've gotten together quite a few times to celebrate weddings...and to celebrate our love of our favorite pastimes.

Kathleen, me, and Emily at Laura's wedding.

...and Becca, Kim, and Chrissy made it to mine.
We even made a special road trip to visit Chrissy and meet Bethanny from the Real Housewives. That show got us through some tough times!
I always know I can depend on these men and women for insights into teaching, a good laugh, and some butt-kicking if I need it.

What are your best school memories?
Do you keep in touch with your college/grad school friends?



  1. +10 points to me :)

    Some of my strongest friendships were developed in grad school too. We didn't live on campus together, but we spent plenty of nights Skyping until 4am while writing last minute research papers. We call ourselves the Fabulous Foursome. When we started grad school three of the four wanted to go for a PhD but only one of us has had the guts to make the leap so far.

    1. I knew you'd get the reference!

      I really think grad school more than college creates those bonds because you're all in the same program, so you're all going through the same grind every day.

  2. This is awesome!!! It sounded like you had a great time in grad school! :) :)

  3. What a great tribute to your grad experience and friends! I am surprised you didn't decide to be a teacher until the end of your undergrad career. How fortunate you are to have made awesome, lasting friendships. Unfortunately, I didn't do much in college besides study, practice, perform, and hole up in my room watching Forensic Files. I had 3 gal friends I hung out with from time to time but after college we did not keep in touch at all. Isn't that sad?

    1. I was getting my English degree in undergrad and thinking, "What the heck will I do when I graduate?"...Then, I took a class on Chaucer in which the professor had us each teach a tale, and I realized through that that I LOVED teaching!

      I really had to force myself to be social in undergrad, but in grad school it was such a small cohort, we all just bonded immediately. I had no choice but to be social! I'm a huge Forensic Files fan, too!

  4. This is awesome! Looks like you have a great group of friends :) I love my school friends, it's such a special bond! and it's fun to reminisce. My best friends are still the ones I made in Uni and I hope our friendship lasts a long time.

    1. I'm sure your friendships will last, as long as you all keep working at them! Sometimes you need to put some effort in haha.

  5. It looks like you had so much fun in college! I totally get the 'themed parties.' We did the same in Everything was uber organized too....teachers? ;) You look so pretty in your photos! I am not that photogenic...teach me. ;)

    1. In Canada, do you do the European thing and call the first four years of college "graduate school" or "university" and then call the higher levels "post graduate"?

      I have no idea how my pics come out like that...I swear I don't really look like that in real life!

  6. This is such an awesome throwback :) I loved reading this and you are beautiful :)