Here it is. The beginning of the end. After 3 and a half years, 28 courses, 56 assignments (roughly) as well as several exams and quizzes, I am now staring into the face of my final semester at USQ.
For many, this semester will be their first. It will be marked with new and exciting experiences; the starting point in working to achieve their goals and dreams. For me though, this semester will be characterised through a series of ‘lasts’. The last uni textbook I buy, the last courses I complete, the last assignment I submit, the last prac I participate in – my university life is drawing to a close.
While I am excited about the doors that will unlock and open in the completion of an Education degree, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. I have loved my uni life from the very first lecture. I have changed, I have grown and I have discovered who I am as well as what my passions are. I have met some wonderful and inspiring people, many of whom have become part of my ‘uni family’, and have had some amazing experiences.
I have done things that four years ago I would never have dreamt that I would do. This is very true of an experience that I have had recently. I remember back to my first ‘O Week’, when I attended all of the information sessions that I could (in a desperate bid to ease my nerves). One of these was a lecture on professional placements (pracs; going out to schools to teach). Sometime through this, two fourth year students made their way to the front of the lecture theatre and discussed their recent prac, in Thailand. I remember thinking two things. My first thought centred on the public speaking aspect, I wondered if I would ever truly be comfortable speaking in front of such a large group. Secondly, I thought about actually teaching kids in another country. What a seemingly impossible task!
Less than three years later, I was boarding a plane with two other USQ students (who I had met previously but really didn’t know). We were off to teach in Thailand! The three week experience was unbelievable. I taught maths to high school children in Chiang Mai, observed and participated in many cultural traditions, rode elephants, played with tigers (yes – real life tigers) and was able to share these amazing experiences with two other USQ students who I now regard as family. Since then, I have given presentations about this prac to large groups of students – just as the two students I envied had done! Through these reflections of the past 3 and a half years, I can see how much I have grown as a person as well as a teacher.
My first lectures of my final semester have just started. So, it is with my last textbook, pen and notepad in hand that I leave nostalgia behind (for now) and refocus on my goal – finish the degree. However, like a good Hollywood movie, I will leave you now with a small reflective montage of my uni life over the past few years. Enjoy