September 2, 2013
Nearly 4 years ago I embarked on a life-changing endeavor; I decided to continue my education and pursue graduate studies. At the time I was uncertain of which school I wanted to attend, but I knew what I wanted to study and that is always half the battle. Contrary to my natural methodology of excessively analyzing and over thinking situations and events I did what I rarely do when making major decisions-I trusted solely my gut and took a leap of faith or desperation, but it was definitely a leap.
No seriously one day I simply said ‘where is a place I have never been and wouldn’t mind living?’ To my great surprise, Philadelphia was the answer that immediately popped into my head. Upon that spontaneous, and potentially life altering, decision I asked myself “What is the best graduate school in Philadelphia to study urban education?” Not knowing the answer I, like everyone else in this technologically advanced era, googled it and to my pleasant surprise, the University of Pennsylvania is the answer I was given. Upon further research into their teacher education program, this institution became my top choice for graduate studies.
To some, this idea may sound preposterous, but no one was more surprised than me. I’m a life planner; I have always been an advocate of planning ahead. I can acknowledge that I have a spontaneous streak, but this was completely abnormal for me. Why did I go? Why didn’t I simply say that this methodology was idiotic and should be ignored? Because for some reason it made absolute sense and aligned with what my end goals were, and still are.
Since a child I knew that I wanted to be the first person in my family to graduate from college, at this point it was something that just had to be done, but it was also my personal attempt at showing my nieces and nephews that excuses were trivial because anything you want in life can be attained if you never give up on yourself. The sky is ablaze around you? The solid ground you were standing on has somehow turned into an ocean and you appear to be drowning? Fight back! Use the water to push back the flame and fight with every morsel of fiber you have to continue pursuing your dreams. This was the message I wanted to send.
Another key point in my career timeline was that I wanted to have maintained my master degree by the age of 25. Due to life doing what it does best–happening, I didn’t graduate with my bachelor degree until the age of 24 so I knew that my next degree program would have to be an accelerated one-year program for me to still be on target with my life plan.
-Ms. Malcolm Hughes