Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back to Where it Began

Last night I taught a group of freshman level students in a classroom that I'm most certain I once sat in as a student. If not as a student, I most certainly attended a work meeting in this classroom. As I ponder this, I realize what a unique position I find myself. Not many people have the opportunity to return to where it all began.

The building where the classroom is located is also the same building that I once occupied as an employee on various floors throughout the years. On the first floor I worked as an Admissions Coordinator, on the second floor I worked as an Education Administrator, and on the seventh floor, I was an Academic Counselor and Reentry Counselor. In other positions I was housed in the four-story building across the courtyard. At the very beginning of my career with UOP, I worked at off-site, satellite campuses (for those of you who might recall, the Downtown and Northwest Campuses are where I worked, respectively). I worked in nearly every department within the Student Services department. At that time in my life (my early twenties), I had no clue that one day I would be a director over this department.

Fast forward to last night...walking into the seven-story building, up the stairs to the second floor, into classroom 204...I'm no longer that young girl starting her career. I'm the teacher, faculty, instructor, many titles for what I do these days. I'm no longer shy, insecure, inexperienced. I'm back to the same place where I started, yet, because of nontraditional higher education, I'm a completely different person. The experience I gained as an employee of the University of Phoenix went beyond the entry-level coordinator and administrator roles that I held in the early years. It took me from having a job, to having a career.

In his book, Rebel with a Cause, Dr. John Sperling states, " own aims always have been centered around social change, and about increasing opportunities for those born without the middle-class entitlements that our consumer culture seems to take for granted." It was his own aim, that changed the course of my life. Sent me down a path that may not have happened otherwise. I am well-rounded, cultured, open-minded, experienced and educated because of his goal to bring about change in higher education.

It was Dr. Sperling's firm stance on the need for nontraditional higher ed, that has allowed me to return to the place where it all began. Older, wiser, appreciative, and, with the goal of giving back. Thank you Dr. Sperling...I'll never take all you did for granted.

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