October 2017

Howdy Ags!
My name is Vanessa Rodriguez and I am currently in my first year of graduate school pursuing a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a STEM Emphasis. This, however, is not my first pursuit of a degree from Texas A&M. And before I get started talking to you all about my experiences in graduate school, I would like to share some of my history with the university and how it has impacted my journey thus far.
During my senior year of high school, I decided that I was going to attend Texas A&M. I was going to be successful, I was going to graduate with a Biology degree, I was not going to be one of those people who couldn’t hack it and ended up going home. Completely unaware of what was to come during my time at Texas A&M, I went into the experience with immaturity. Needless to say, I failed hard. By the start of my second year, I was clinging on to my last bit of hope at staying in College Station to complete my degree. By January, I was driving up for my last trip up to pack up my apartment and head back home. I became the cautionary tale I was always warned about.
As I started back at a local university, I was unmotivated, depressed, and a little embarrassed. It took me about a year to dig myself out of my rut and to snap myself back into reality; I knew getting a Bachelor’s degree was important to me and to my future. I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and by that point, I was just ready for a break from the tumultuous relationship that I had with education at that point. During this time, I applied for about 50 jobs and only had maybe 3 callbacks for interviews. Eventually, I was hired as a teacher for a program where adults were trying to obtain their high school diplomas. This changed my view of education completely. Education is not a race, which is something I always felt deep down inside. We all have different thresholds of what we consider achievement or success to be.
I had the privilege to teach so many hard-working students, who through all their struggles and adversity, were determined to achieve this goal. The idea of getting to wear an Aggie Ring, to walk down the stage at Reed Arena to get my diploma, never really left my mind. So, I decided to apply for graduate school at A&M. I applied once and I did not get accepted. I ran through the thoughts in my head that this just isn’t meant to be. I had been looking at other potential programs of interest at A&M and stumbled upon the one that I am lucky to be a part of now, and decided to apply. The program was slated to start during the summer (I applied during March), and as time passed by with no notice from the program, I began to think of other alternatives to pursuing my degree elsewhere. Then one day, I was sitting in a coffee shop with my sister and I got the email with all the information about the program and my official acceptance from the college. I cried.
Second chances happen. And I was so fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to achieve the goals I thought I would never be able to. As I continue on with this blog, I hope you find a shoulder to lean on throughout this rigorous journey, a pat on the shoulder when you ace those exams, and an unfiltered view of the world of a graduate student who is still navigating unchartered waters. I am thrilled to share my experiences with you!
Thanks and Gig ‘Em!

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