I'm proctoring (fancy word for "overseeing test-takers to make sure they don't cheat on...") my last exam as a Mathematical Sciences Teaching Assistant right now. Yep. RIGHT NOW. Its happening, in the very room where I sit. While these young'uns sweat and scratch their heads and chew their pencils, they have the melodious sound of my typing (which, according to Mavis Beacon, is around 78 wpm) to lull them into mathematical understanding.
This semester has really been a joy. They've been funny kids, hard-working kids, reasonably-intelligent kids. Heck, I'd even call some of them smart. They've been polite and inquisitive.
Really, its just been a joy.
Last semester, not so much.
But thats sad, and possibly incriminating, so I'm going to gloss over it.
Its weird to think that I've taught these kids what they're currently being tested on.
About 4 semesters ago, it really hit me the first time my first class walked into their first test: I'm the only one who taught them, and now their academic careers depend on my words.
I'd "assisted" with teaching before, but never had my own class. Its kind of shocking, that I would be allowed to have so much sway over the future of these students.
Teaching has been a real experience. I feel as though I've gotten a pretty good feel for what it is to teach at the college level. And that is part of my maybe-someday-plan; I might become a professor. I'm not 100% sold on the idea, because I've seen how much time goes into it, and I've had the students who don't want to learn and all that jazz. But overall, I think I like it. Maybe.
This summer, I've taken an internship with a large company in Greenville, SC. Its a real job, like, fo reals, its a job. Its got everything that a real job has: long hours, a long commute, rush-hour, a water cooler, name badges, and files. I think I might even earn a little paid vacation time, which I've never had in my life.
Can we take a moment to examine that? I'm 25 years old. Thats definitely adult age. And I've never had a real job. I've had summer
jobs serving opportunities with Americorps, I've had work-study jobs at my undergrad, I've worked for my grandparents, I've babysat and cut lawns. But a real job, a more-than-minimum-wage-job, nope. Never. I get paid right now while I'm in school, but its basically a work-study position, and when you factor out the time spent vs. the bi-weekly pay stubs, its just depressing.
This summer, though, I am taking the world by storm. I'm gonna have me a real job. The goal of this job (other than to make money money make money money ay!) is to experience a real job. Everyone wants to know what I want to do when I get growed up. Seriously, the guy who interviewed me for the internship asked me that and I told him the truth; last week, I wanted to run a fruit stand, and this week I wanted to open a bakery. Honestly, I think he thought both were good ideas.
Hopefully though, this job gives me some perspective on what life is like outside of a college campus. I'm a little concerned with needing to leave my house looking like business at 6:30 in the AM but I figure people do it every day and live to tell about it; so can I, too. And I'm a little nervous about the usual things: will they like me, who will I sit with at lunch, what if I choke on water while talking to someone (not that I did that at my interview or anything... nope, 'cause I'm a cook cat, yep.), etc. You know, the usuals. But overall, I'm hopeful for the epiphanies it may bring with regards to my future. And if not, at least I'll earn vacation time and make more than minimum wage. Which is not too shabby either.
So, as I end (as soon as I turn in my last project, or Sunday night, whichever comes first) my final year in the Mathematical Sciences Department and head out into a summer of uncomfortable shoes and new experiences, do you have any suggestions? Should I take baked goods into the office, thereby buying new friends with sugar and butter? I mean, its really worked for me so far... Or should I get some special music for my commute (45 min on a good day)? Or should I be sure to not wear stripes with floral (neither of which I think I own...)? Any wisdom you've got is much appreciated.
Oh, and I need a dog-sitter for 2-3 days a week, end of June through early August.
Growing up, just a little,