Friday, May 7, 2021

6 years, 2 degrees, 1 home away from home. Thank you, Bloom!

When I first stepped onto campus in 2015 as a first-year student I never would have imagined the impact Bloomsburg University would have on me.

As I went through my four years as an undergraduate, I got involved, made connections that will last a lifetime, and most importantly I found my true self, my passion. As I look back, it was because of those experiences I was given and the connections I made that I was able to find my passion in education.

Bloomsburg gave me the opportunities to succeed in whatever I may do and has taught me that finding your path is the best path. As I entered my final year of graduate school, my final year at Bloomsburg, I reflected on how this university shaped me into the person I am today.

When I first got here as an undergraduate, I was nervous and full of uncertainty. It was not long after that I realized this place is more than just a campus … it is my home. I am now full of memories, opportunities, and people I call my family.

I began my time at Bloomsburg as a finance major and began to get heavily involved in the orientation program where I found my true passion. Education. It was not until my senior year I decided to continue my master's degree in business education. When deciding to go back to grad school there was no hesitation that I would stay at the place that has helped me get to where I am today.

Throughout graduate school I had the opportunity to be the graduate assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions where I continued to grow both personally and professionally. During my final semester as a Bloomsburg University student I completed a student teaching experience at a local high school. Student teaching in the middle of a pandemic is not what most students think of or expect, however, I've never felt more prepared to enter my first year of teaching.

My student teaching experience did not look like the norm, the first day there were no students in their seats and no teachers at their desk. No this was not because of COVID-19, this was due to a three-day snowstorm. My first few days were spent at my desk at home with only online interaction. Shortly after I was able to enter the classroom but students were still virtual most of the week. Our classrooms may have been empty but they were still full of knowledge.

The day came where students were fully in person everyday of the week. It was the biggest celebration of the whole year. The nerves kicked in again. I was meeting most students for the first time, it was like the first day of school jitters. I quickly was able to build rapport with my students and became more than just a student teacher. I got to know each of my students, my cooperating teacher, and other teachers in the building.

With their help and encouragement, I have been able to go above and beyond what I expected of myself.

As I continued my student teaching experience I was given the opportunity to be the school's assistant softball coach. This is the moment I was more than just a student teacher, I got to know my students but also others in the school. I got to know and become part of the community. By coaching I was able to enhance my experience and go above and beyond for my students.

I became an educator to inspire and impact my students, little did I know the impact and inspiration that they would have on me each and every day.

As I complete my final weeks at Bloomsburg University, I think back at all the strides I have made and the moments that will last forever. I started as a young first-year student and came out as a future business educator with a place to call my second home. These past six years were the greatest years of my life.

Through this journey I had the largest team of cheerleaders that stood by my side the entire time. I would like to thank the orientation team, admissions team, my family, and my roommates who became more than just someone I lived with, they became my family too. Without my support system I would not be where I am today. A special thank you to Bloomsburg University for giving me the opportunities to prepare me as I enter the next chapter of my life.
— Gianna Harris '19, a finance graduate who will soon earn a master's degree in business education. She is a native of Clifton Heights and was a student leader with the First Year Experience and Orientation office, as well as a graduate assistant with admissions.

#BloomOnward #HuskyUnleashed #HeyHOWLs

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