The following entry was written over the span of multiple days. Included are thoughts from while I was waiting at O’hare for my flight, last night (first night of Induction) and all today (day 2 of Induction). Enjoy!

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I’m sitting at O’hare waiting to board my flight. As I do not want to pay for wireless just for 30 min, I am typing this first into a Word doc.

I’m an emotional person and the past weeks have brought about plenty of emotions; but the last couple of days have been the worst. I have felt sheer terror at the prospect of this whole ordeal, and frustratingly enough I could not put my finger on WHY for the longest time. I should be excited, and maybe just a tad nervous right?? Instead I’ve felt nervous to the point of nausea pretty consistently for the past couple days.

Then it hit me that I never really processed the fact that my time at Bradley is over. Not only that, my time in IL (at least for the next couple years) is over…I am moving to another state?!?!? On my own?!?!?! To teach!??!?!

I tend to push rough thoughts away rather than process them (really who has all that time!) So I have yet to really process these dual-punctuation deserving realizations. Still, simply realizing the reason behind my terror has helped to ease it. It’s interesting to me how scared I was(?). Here I thought I was at least mostly ready to move to a new place. I had been trying to convince myself it would be just like I’m away from home, in Peoria (hah!..) But the realization that I am moving to TEXAS (again….?!?!?) – a whole new state far from many familiar faces, sort of makes me feel entitled to being terrified every now and then. And this makes me feel…more sane and therefore much better.

Of course I have been repeating my mantra as I said I would (most times at the reminder of my sister).

I am already interested to know how my outlook on this situation will develop over time. This an intense transitory period in my life, and I hope to take many moments to reflect on the process.

So again (what kind of mantra would it be if I didn’t repeat it for ya), here’s attempting to take solace in the wise words of Betty Bender: “Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile…initially scared me to death.”

I’m scared to death, which is no fun, BUT hopefully this experience will truly be incredibly worthwhile. And for that I’m ok with being spooked…for now.

Hoping for a safe flight (really is there anything that doesn’t make me nervous?).

AND I’m off!

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(Thurs night, at Hilton in Houston)

What inspired me to write the blog entry this morning wasn’t even mentioned in the post. As I had no internet connection (still don’t so this is first being typed into Word) I curiously browsed my desktop for something to read or clear. I came across a letter of intent to one of the other programs to which I had applied, and read it.

And I realized that I had (fortunately) had options. That I had chosen TFA and really, it seems to have chosen me too.

Anyway today was rough! I couldn’t sleep last night out of nerves so instead I lay awake talking with my sister. Ultimately I got 3 hours of sleep (1-4am), and have been running on that all the livelong day. I got to Houston just fine, albeit skeptical. Chicago looked amazing as we took off and I was sad to leave. Houston looked dry and brown…

Still I landed, made my way to meet up with some other TFAers who got in around the same time as me and together we made it to the hotel. We were a little late so had to finish registration later and instead jump right into sessions.

The information I picked up today was interesting at times, too repetitive at others. What sticks with me most today is how many times I was/am in utter disbelief. I cannot believe I will be living in Houston. I cannot believe I will be teaching. And really, I cannot believe we let the achievement gap become such a large reality in our education systems. I DO however believe it can be closed, but this needs to be done (if even possible to imagine) much faster and on a larger scale than it is currently being done.

After the sessions we had a brief break then dinner. FINALLY. I don’t think any of us had eaten anything substantial for over a ridiculous number of hours. Afterward our Transition Team Leaders planned a city scavenger hunt. I really wanted to go BUT I could barely keep my eyes open so I chose to prepare for tomorrow instead and relax and go to bed early tonight.

Tomorrow morning I get to tour the Fifth Ward, which is the neighborhood in which the new YES Prep school at which I will be teaching will be.

I still can’t believe I’m here and this is all real. I wonder when on earth it will sink in!

Good night!

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(Friday)

I am so glad I stayed in last night. I was able to shower/do my hair/iron my dress/SLEEP. And although I’m still tired and could have been ready for bed a couple hours ago (at about 7pm), I was a lot more refreshed today overall.

This morning I got to see Fifth Ward – the neighborhood where I will be teaching. I didn’t really get to see much of the neighborhood, but did get to hear about it a bit more in detail.

Again and again what I am learning is that kids, low-income or high CAN achieve. If only they are given the resources (going beyond the tangible) and held to high expectations. It is outrageous how harshly the achievement gap exists even now, in 2011. I could go on and on but my computer is dying and so I will share one other point here that has come up several times. Many of the TFA CMs have told people they will be teaching, to which their audience reacts with something along the lines of, “But you’re too smart for that!!”………………..ummmm WHAT?? Would you rather have dumb people teaching your kids?? I don’t understand.

Tonight was SO FUN. We were split into groups and set off to dinner. It was so nice to be outside of the hotel outside of professional clothes and able to let loose. I met some great and hilarious people today. Ask me about the guy we just met. Too funny. Gotta love brownies (indian/paki ppl).

Anyway now I’m just chillin’ in the lobby with people. Love it. They’re preparing for interviews but as I’ve already been placed I get to relax for a while tomorrow morning. Then tomorrow evening it’s off to the beach for dinner! Yay 🙂

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