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Mrs. Gonzalez Reflects on Her Journey to Becoming a Teacher

When you were growing up, what career did you want to pursue? When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. In high school, I used to volunteer every year in the medical tent at the finish line of the LA Marathon assisting the doctors. I loved the fast pace and being able to help others so I decided I wanted to be an ER Nurse.

What made you decide to become a teacher? I entered the pre-nursing program at University of Washington in Seattle, but my parents were pushing me to be a doctor so I switched all my classes to pre-med. But since I was already a year and a half into college, I was behind in pre-med classes so I overloaded my schedule with very difficult math and science classes to catch up, but I was really struggling with my grades. I noticed that the classes I really enjoyed and excelled in were English based so I switched my major to English and decided I wanted to be an English teacher.

If you weren’t teaching, what do you think you’d be doing instead? I don’t know. I love to teach, and can’t really imagine myself doing anything different. I am where I’m supposed to be. However, if you asked me what my dream job would be, I would love to be like Rick Steves and travel around the world and learn about different cultures; or be like Anthony Bourdain in No Reservations and travel around eating new foods and experiencing different cultures.

Did you enjoy college? What was your most memorable experience? I loved college. It was the most amazing experience. It was the first time I was on my own and had my own freedom and independence to make my own decisions. I loved going to class, meeting new people, and learning new things. I’m probably dating myself, but one of my most memorable experiences was procrastinating on a midterm essay. That essay was half of my grade for the whole class. I was in the typewriter lab typing up my essay the day it was due. I typed it out and ran across the campus to drop it off at my professor’s office. I just made it in time before the deadline. I guess it was so memorable, because I was so stressed and never wanted to feel like that again so I learned to stop procrastinating. I also remember having to call in to register for my classes on a payphone (there were no cellphones and there was no such thing as online registration). Sometimes they would fill up, and I would have to try another class. You students have it so much easier these days with everything digital.

Is there anything you regret not doing in college or high school? I was very involved in high school. When I was in high school, I was in student government and in a lot of community service clubs. By the time I got to college, I felt a little burned out and didn’t want to join any clubs or committees. I regret not getting more involved with school activities. I think I would probably feel more of a connection with the school if I had gotten more involved.

What advice would you give to students about their future after high school? Life is short. Try to enjoy and have fun in whatever you do. Don’t be afraid to try new things. There will be times you have setbacks, but pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. Be yourself. If the people around you don’t like you for your true self, then you don’t want them as friends. Surround yourself with positive people who support you and stay away from those that bring you down.

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