“Breaking down the walls
Do the impossible
It’s impossible to you, not impossible to me
Not impossible for me…”
~Kelly Clarkson, “Impossible”
Okay, I suppose “the past” may be stretching it a bit. After all, five years ago isn’t exactly an eternity. Still, though, when I think of all that’s happened since then and how different my life is now, it’s sometimes hard to believe. Five years ago, I was interning at the news station I had dreamed of working at for years. I was spending my days writing news promos, learning the intricacies of the Avid editing program, and more. I loved every minute of that internship, and leaving when it drew to an end was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I still remember the way I sat in my car in the parking lot, not wanting to turn the key in the ignition. Fast forward to spring of 2006, and I was facing another goodbye, this time on my last day of student teaching. I worked in a sixth grade Language Arts class, and even though journalism and writing were my passions, I wanted to see my double major through and finish the requirements for my Education degree, as well. Going into student teaching, I didn’t know what to expect. On that last day, I realized with certainty that it had been more than I could have imagined.
Did I end up pursuing a career in teaching? No. I went the journalism route, and that’s given me experiences I’ll always be deeply grateful for, experiences I’ll always treasure. But am I glad I had the opportunity to teach those fifty-four students? Yes. And you know, in the process, they taught me a lot, as well. I still have all the sweet cards and notes they gave me on my last day, and every so often, I’ll go back to read them and reminisce. Getting to watch those kids learn, getting to see their excitement over something like creating their own newscast or choosing which song to use as part of the day’s grammar lesson … it was all special in its own way. And, I know now, I’m not the only one who looks back on those five months with great memories.
Today was our community’s annual craft fair, and since many of the high school’s clubs are often selling raffles/merchandise as a fundraiser, I had a feeling I’d see some of “my” former kids there. Sure enough, I did. The “hey, I know you!” made me smile, and the “so do you still like Kelly Clarkson?” made me laugh out loud. Apparently I left somewhat of a lingering impression. Five years later, I don’t remember the exact grammar lessons I taught them. I don’t remember all the books we read, all the vocabulary we covered, all the activities and units I added to the regular curriculum. I do remember the way one girl sang “For Good” to me on my last day. I do remember the way they asked me about everything Idol-related. I do remember how excited they were on the day they finally got to present their newscasts, the culmination of a month of hard work. I used the quote “we must teach our children to dream with their eyes open” as part of my final presentation for my student teaching seminar, and it’s something I think applies to everyone. We should all dream with our eyes wide open. We should all break down the walls and do the impossible.
That’s exactly what I’m determined to do. Sending off the first round of queries for Reflections of Me was exhilarating, inspiring. Getting a request for the full manuscript just two days later was exciting beyond belief. Is there a good chance nothing will come of it? Yes. I’ve learned enough about this industry to understand that. And if that agent passes on the book, it’ll be okay. I’ll keep querying, keep working, keep writing … keep reaching for the impossible until it’s held firmly within my grasp.
What about you? Do you dream with your eyes open? Do you believe that the past can have a lasting impact on the present, and maybe even the future?