I am feeling overwhelmed and in awe knowing that I am sitting in front of this computer writing about my experience as a first year Knowledge River graduate student. As an undergraduate senior at the University of Arizona I had decided that I wanted to give back to the Hispanic/Latin community here in Arizona. The perfect way that I thought I would be able to do this was to join Teach for America (TFA) – so I did just that. I had gone through the rigorous application process with fellow Wildcats, and let me tell you the application process was extremely difficult for me. I was able to make it though and I was selected to be part of the 2016 cohort of Teach for America corps members. I was so excited knowing that I would be moving to Phoenix, and helping my community. I interviewed for a job with an amazing school and I was set to go.
At the same time I had gotten my acceptance letter from KR offering me this amazing opportunity, and I was thrilled that I had gotten offered both of the programs that I really wanted to get. I had to make a decision on what exactly I wanted to do with my life after graduation. I felt pressure to continue my path with Teach for America due to the fact that I wanted to leave Tucson desperately; being a Tucson native I was ready for a change.
The next day after I had decided to continue TFA I picked up the phone, and called Gina (our KR advisor) and I told her I was honored to receive the scholarship, but that I wanted to respectfully DECLINE it to continue TFA. Gina was thrilled, and congratulated me on my future journey. Fast forward 4 weeks later everything changed and I knew that I couldn’t continue my journey with TFA for multiple reasons – that’s another story that I don’t think we have time to talk about. I was devastated and I didn’t know what my next move was.
When I declined KR I did not in fact decline my acceptance to the graduate program. I felt that I missed out on a great opportunity with KR declining my funding, and I went from being on top of the world to feeling like I had made a really stupid mistake. I picked up the phone and called Gina, and I explained to her what had happened. I then asked if it was too late to be a part of the program, and KR welcomed me back with open arms. It was almost like it was meant to be, and now I am about to get my degree in a field that is blooming by the minute.
A year later I am writing this blog telling my story on how I became a KR scholar. My experience so far has been positive, and I am slowly finding my place within this big world of information sciences. I recently got the opportunity to attend the Public Library Association annual conference in Denver, Colorado where I had the opportunity to network with potential employers and learn a bit more about the world of public libraries, since its something I’m really interested in. My experience in class has been extremely challenging, and it has been difficult to adjust. However, it’s been a rewarding experience to learn what works and what doesn’t work for me in the classroom. It has also been a rewarding experience to be an online student, and balancing a full-time job as well. Nonetheless, I think the best things I have gotten out of Knowledge River are the people that I have interacted with. My colleagues are the ones who understand the stress, challenges, and the reward of being in this program. We all help each other through tough classes, and through tough times with personal issues/struggles. I am truly blessed to have gotten the opportunity to call myself a KR scholar and be a part of the KR family of 14 cohorts, and I cant wait to welcome in the new KR cohort this upcoming August.
I can’t wait to “Tell Them. Tell The Team To BEAR DOWN!!!!!” – John Button Salmon