With May already started, I wanted to write a brief 6-7 part miniseries about teaching and education. In this post, I wrote about my education history from K-12 experiences, and my struggles with college. I’d also like to let you know that I discuss anxiety and depression that correlates with my education history. At the end, I wrote out a list of topics I’d like to discuss this month.
The next post from this series will be up on Monday but feel free to check back Friday for another photograph post.
Even though I had no where near a perfect childhood, one of the struggles I had throughout grade school was learning. I loved to learn but the changing education environment in Texas from various state testing methods didn’t work well for me. I had to retake math exams almost every couple of years with it being my weakest part in grade school.
My best subjects were history and english, even though my writing skills are still not the best. I had always loved reading books and one of my favorite topics involved books. Writing skill wise, a majority of what I learned in grade school about nouns, pronouns, adverbs, verbs, suffixes, and other grammar things were all forgotten before going to high school. Even spelling never improved and I continuously catch myself making my own mistakes.
I graduated high school a year older than everyone, since I had to retake kindergarten twice. My emotional, social, and motor skills weren’t up to par with being allowed to move on to first grade. That was when I was living with my Mom. When I was moved to my Dads, he didn’t believe I needed to stay in special needs classes, tutoring, counseling, etc. So I kept progressing till I graduated high school while trying to play catch-up in the basics of math and science.
It wasn’t until 7th grade was I moved back to my Mom’s and that’s when I got to resume after school tutoring and counseling. By that point, I was in band (another “no” from my Dad) and needed to stay on top of my academics to be eligible to play in concerts and competitions.
At least a dozen of my family members work in education and they all knew the importance of graduating with a high school degree and excelling academically. My dad didn’t echo that statement and so the blending of lack of education and need to go to after school programs began to form a wall cloud.
In high school, I racked up the amount of extracurricular I was in and I swear I have no idea how I managed to be a part of a intense band program, Key Club and Interact Service Clubs, Book Club, Anti-bullying group, and Science club serving as officers and the like. In my junior and senior years, I started taking AP classes in english, history, government, and economics. I took at least five AP tests one year… just for the heck of it. I felt no pressure to pass them and tried a music theory exam without studying (to see if I was ready to go major in Music Education).
It wasn’t until six months after I graduated was I diagnosed with general anxiety and depression. More on that below.
At times, I don’t want to share the past about my college experiences at Stephen F. Austin State University. For example, I still feel disconnected with who I was only six years ago when I first started going to college outside of my hometown. I stayed for two semesters and the first semester I excelled as a Music Education major. Then, I had a terrible mental health thing happen and I lost friends and confidence in school just right before final exams. A lot of not so fun things are associated with SFASU, dorm life, etc.
When I started the spring semester, I was more focused joining a band fraternity and my grades slipped. When I returned to school that fall, I tried taking 18 hours and dropped out of school in late September (2013).
I took five months off from school and focused on my new life in Oklahoma City and I attempted to go to school again that spring at a community college but still didn’t pass those classes. Again, I took a break and then transferred to the University of Oklahoma and returned to school for the next school year.
I still was struggling with education and I changed my major too many times in that one academic year (2014-2015). At one point, I realized I didn’t want to be a band director in this southwest because I could no longer participate in marching band. Which would decrease my chances as being a band director or teacher. In the summer of 2015, I was doing too much with school and work and extracurricular stuff and had a second health crisis that pulled me out of college again.
Between 2015-2018, I had a lot of growing up to do. Working through what I can and cannot physically and mentally handle. My depression peaked at its worst in 2017 and likes to come back during February, September, and during any odd weather changes. It was this time last year, I realized I wanted to return back to school not about friends, organizations, or any of the things that had stalled me from excelling in school- but I wanted to complete my bachelors. Earn a college degree. Move unto the next phase of life and be done with college.
Fall of 2018, I returned to OU and made A’s in the two six hour courses. My major is now set to English-Writing and I still have a ways to go before I can be close to being a better writer. In 2017, my trombone was stolen (before I moved to where I am now) and this has prevented me from participating in band classes again or getting a minor in music. Those instruments cost $$.
This semester is wrapping up and I had lots of things occur that helped me evaluate why I’m in school. I’ve got an online class that starts next week and will go till June 7th and then I will be taking the summer off to reflect and work.
College is difficult for me and I have a very odd lifestyle that competes with the time management to going to school. I commute five days a week from OKC to Norman for school/work and living with roommates doesn’t help my mental health or my roommates. I grew up in a college town and tried living in two different ones over the years and my mental health falters when I live in college towns or small towns. I enjoy where i am in Oklahoma City, because I get to marvel at the city around me and be safe in my mental health comfort zone.
College has taught me what I can mentally and psychically handle. Being a full time student doesn’t work for me anymore, especially with managing adult things like bills and mental health.
I also have to avoid social media during this time of the year, because I tend to fester on the fact that I was supposed to graduate college in 2016 and then 2019. My pace for completing college does not parallel anyone elses, even if that means I’ll graduate college in 2023.
Future posts & topics in this teaching & education miniseries:
Teaching History & top five lessons
Why Children are the future to invest in
Test & Performance Anxiety (the history and methods I use to chill out)
Danielle’s writing career started as a musician first. She enjoys blogging about various subjects ranging from lifestyles, mental health, and topics relating to her English-Writing degree.
Posts are on MWF every week featuring the monthly Taking Inventory Series, photography features, and more!