August of 2021 was the beginning of the end of a certain chapter in my life. Like other students, I was happy to return to in-person classes and clubs on campus. My junior year had been completely virtual, and I was greatly missing the connections made in the classroom and in my social life. Although the excitement to return for my senior year grew stronger each day, so did the sadness of knowing this would be my last year at Millersville. I would torment myself with the question of “what will I be doing a year from now,” hoping that I could somehow find a way to align myself with my future goals. I knew that going to graduate school was something that I wanted to do, but where and when was something that overwhelmed me to think about. That is, however, until I learned about the Master of Arts in English program that was offered at Millersville.
When I looked back on my undergraduate years, I was able to see how much I had grown and changed in a positive way from being a student at Millersville. My freshman year, I was a quiet and uncertain student who didn’t believe in herself. Over the course of four years, I had turned into a student who was confident in her academic abilities, and knew the value in herself not only as an academic, but also as a teammate, peer, friend, and partner. The different skills I had learned in my English courses, such as learning how to compose a range of texts, fostering my creativity, and expanding my analytical thinking, had only reinforced that furthering my education in the subject was the best choice for me. Speaking with Dr. Pfannenstiel that spring semester my senior year, I saw a direct path on how to achieve my goals by staying at Millersville.
Although some may assume that staying at the same university for both undergrad and graduate degrees may limit one’s growth, I would argue that it only helps to expand it. Since I already knew the campus, department, and professors I would be working with, I didn’t have to worry about any of that when the school year started. Instead, I could just focus on my studies and figure out how to make the most out of my two years in the program. Another major reason I chose to further my education at Millersville was because of the opportunity to have a graduate assistantship in the English department. Working with Dr. P, Dr. Baldys, Dr. Mando, and my amazing fellow GA Becca on a daily basis has helped me grow as a professional and as a scholar in ways I never could have expected. Their kindness and knowledge have inspired me to look towards my own future, as the skills and connections they have provided me with have helped me to become more excited by the unknown rather than fearful.
Millersville has and continues to be a place where I am changing and growing in a positive way each and every day, and I am so thankful to my past self for choosing to stay here to continue my journey into higher education. Although this chapter will be closing soon, I now have direction on where the next one may start.
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