This weekend, I had the extraordinary opportunity to fly out to Chicago to see all of my housemates from when I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa last semester.
The South Africa Study Abroad program pulled from all 28 Jesuit universities across the United States. That said, my housemates were from Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount in California, Marquette in Wisconsin, Xavier in Ohio, St. Joes in Philly, and Loyola Chicago! Having some of my closest friends spread out across the entire country is rough, but getting to travel to meet up with them is so much fun!!
For my housemates and I, Cape Town was characterized by our spontaneity. So when we all decided at the last minute to drop everything and fly out to Chicago for the weekend, we solidified that spontaneity, as well as our love for each other.
All day on Friday, waves of friends filed in from across the U.S. – two of my housemates who originally couldn’t come ended up surprising us all and showing up! In total, 15 out of my 20 housemates made the trek to Chicago. Crazy!
We explored the city, ate some delicious food, and bonded with each other, picking up right where we left off five months ago in Cape Town. It honestly felt like we never left each other – the mark of life-long friends.
I am so grateful that The University of Scranton gave me the incredible opportunity to study abroad. Honestly, it was some of the best five months of my life. I made incredible friends with whom I performed service work, took classes, explored the city, went on spontaneous adventures, and had the time of our lives. I definitely recommend that every UofS student takes full advantage of our incredible study abroad program here. It completely changed my life.
I love being a Secondary Education and English double major here at The U. Not only do we take some really cool classes, but we get to engage in incredible hands-on experiences which have definitely prepared me to become a teacher.
Currently, I am observing and teaching lessons at Scranton High School as part of my field work for this semester. There, I observe junior American Literature classes. I have been fortunate enough to observe awesome classroom management styles from my cooperating teacher, as well as cool lesson plan ideas. I even got to teach a lesson on The Great Gatsby where we made poetry out of thematic quotes! I have had an absolute blast with my cooperating teacher and my students. Observing at Scranton High School has really reinforced my decision to become an educator.
Additionally, I just began working at an afterschool program at Riverside Junior-Senior High School! Today was our first day working at the program. Myself and two other university students created a poetry workshop (seeing as April is national poetry month!) We split students into groups and taught them the process of writing a poem by having them draw it, adding on to each other’s pictures. Then, they each wrote statements about the drawings, combined their favorite lines, and made a poem as a class! It was a lot of fun and the middle school students were super engaged!
On the drive back from the after school program to campus today, another university student and I talked about how volunteering at the after school program and working with these kids gave us so much joy. We talked about how we completely forgot about all of our stressors that we would face when we returned to campus – the homework, test, projects, and other commitments. Instead, we were completely consumed by our students’ enthusiasm and excitement. Their passion to learn fueled our passions to teach. And that was beautiful to see.