Normally when I think of shopping, I have glorious visions of bargain hunting—I buy everything at 75% off and then come home and corner my roommates into oohing and aahing over each of my unbelievably awesome purchases. This week though, shopping entailed something else. Instead of a being at a mall, I was at school, attending various 40-minute introductions to HGSE courses—“shopping” them so that I could decide which classes to take this semester.
Now for someone like me, who revels in the magnificence of hunting down the best deals and showing them off, this isn’t actually all that different from what I’d first envisioned. I got to look through all the courses offered, decide which ones I wanted to try on, and get a sense of how each course fit me before deciding which was ultimately right for me. I explored lots of different courses, and though I had to narrow them down before the week was over, I got a peek into what the experience of each class would be like. In some of my shopping periods I even took away little nuggets of info—bonus gifts just for trying out the class. Then the best part: I got to talk to my fellow cohort members, while sitting in Gutman Commons, and shared with them what I’m taking and found out what they’re taking. If I was lucky we’d picked some of the same courses and if not, then we promised to share what we’ve learned with each other.
In fact, shopping for our second semester is kind of a special time at HGSE. We now know what being a student here is about, so it’s not new and scary anymore. In fact, if there’s anything scary it’s that we know we’re halfway done and the magic is almost over. For that reason I can’t help but take a moment to look around and feel like we are in a perfect moment. We get to start again, have a clean slate, but be at home, be with friends, and know who we are here. We get to think about what it is we want to do with the remainder of our time here and we get to hang out with friends and not worry about what paper we’ve got to complete next. Well at least for a moment. Because I’ve actually got my first paper due during week one. Can you believe that? But that’s the wonder of it all. And why you have to step back and appreciate it. Take a deep breath, smile, look around, and step right back into the thick of it.
Jessica Perez is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Higher Education program. She is passionate about improving college access and completion for underrepresented student populations.