Monday, March 8, 2010

Personal Reflection on Change: Danielle Knudsen

Here is another reflection on change and leadership by one of our XCEL Consultants Danielle, telling how she discovered her goal in life, which can help motivate and inspire you!

During my senior year of high school I had mapped out my plan for my education at Binghamton University. During high school I felt pressured to have a career goal in mind before beginning college. Like most freshman, my lifestyle and mindset changed drastically upon entering college. Far from the small-town atmosphere in which I grew up, I felt free and independent. The choices and possibilities for my college path soon seemed endless. Seeking to learn more about myself, I abandoned my plan and began to discover what I want for my future.

I entered college planning to begin studies toward a program in medicine. I had not realized that chemistry and calculus at Binghamton would require an immense amount of dedication in order to receive perfect A’s. I spent many hours in the library, studying day after day. The stress and pressure made me question whether a science-related major was truly the right path for me. Many of my friends who were involved in pre-med goals seemed to truly know that they wished for a career in medicine, therefore all the dedication seemed worthwhile for them. I began to question my plan; I realized I may have been glamorizing the idea of having a plan for my future. I increasingly realized that a medical path was just not the right path for me at this point in my life.

During the summer after my freshman year, I committed to thinking about my plan. I realized that I liked the comfort of having a goal, yet a goal in medicine was not the right choice for me. I decided that the best choice would be to enter sophomore year without any plan. It was hard to commit to changing my mind and deciding to find myself by testing different areas of study. During sophomore year I decided to take a variety of courses in order to expand my opportunities. I completed first semester of sophomore year loving my English and History courses. I juggled the possibilities of majoring in either English or History. The change to courses geared in reading and writing proved to be very worthwhile for me. I felt like I was beginning to excel and enjoy my courses.

Throughout my sophomore year, I began to contemplate a career in education. I enrolled in the Johnson City Mentor Program, by which I realized that a career in teaching is the right fit for me. The program entails serving as a mentor/tutor to an assigned student for fifty hours each semester. The Johnson City Middle School has low socioeconomic standing; therefore many of the students require extra attention that they lack in their home lives. I was assigned to work with a seventh grade student named Ashley. I worked closely with Ashley in order to improve her study skills, organizational abilities and social competences. Serving as a role model college student, I helped encourage Ashley to strive to graduate high school and one day attend college. My impact on Ashley’s achievement in her classes was evident by the significant improvement in her test scores and attendance record. At the end of the program, Ashley wrote me a card thanking me for being her mentor. In Ashley’s words, “I wish I can be just like you when I grow up. You are so smart and you always make me smile.” These words truly touched my heart. I realized that I truly hoped to continue serving as a role model for more students in my future.

Finally I felt very confident with my goal to become a teacher. I felt like my path in education was for the right reasons. I could honestly see myself teaching in my future. Abandoning my path toward medical school was one of the best changes I have ever undertaken. Testing the waters to find a better-suited major had turned out to be very worthwhile!

photo: (c) Ian Britton -

1 comment:

  1. this article is so motivating, thanks!