For half my life, I dreamed of attending Vanderbilt. In 2011, I chose to attend Vanderbilt University for my Master of Education in Elementary Education. Often referred to as being part of the Southern Ivy League, Vanderbilt is a top school of the south. Peabody College of Education has been ranked a top university for studying education many years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. When I applied, I had a mission to help educate students in my urban hometown of Nashville, so I knew Vanderbilt was the right place for me. In my graduate school program, I wanted to be surrounded by hard workers to help me become the best I could be in my field. I was thrilled to have Vanderbilt offer me scholarships to cover a little over a third of my tuition. Now, as a recent graduate, I wrote the following article to examine my experience at the university.
I wanted to go to Vanderbilt because of the school’s rigor and reputation. My program required a full time schedule. Finishing the program took a year and a half to graduate. With a busy course schedule, I felt very refreshed and focused. I participated in volunteer work as well as the required practicums and student teaching. Volunteering with students who had special needs was one of the most meaningful experiences I had. Learning about students with disabilities was so moving to me that I encouraged my daughter to donate $500 to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center recently when she was granted the opportunity to donate to the charity of her choice.
Regarding the rigor of the program at Vanderbilt, professors hold students up to high expectations. I had to get used to not always making As. I always hold myself up to high expectations. I learned to show constant improvement, and I realized that understanding my weaknesses was the key to improvement. When I passed my Teacher Performance Assessment, I realized how much content the program had taught me.
Going through the program with a cohort was a blessing. My cohort was a group of women who went through the entire program with me. Taking classes with the same women helped me gain confidence in my communication skills. I learned how to collaborate well with others. Other students were so incredibly kind and outgoing. I received numerous invitations to social events, and I was always so appreciative to feel included.
Earning my Master of Education degree from Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University helped instill a sense of confidence in me. I received around 10 interviews in some of the most prestigious private elementary and middle schools in the country the summer after graduation. As I knew seasoned professionals who were having a hard time getting one interview in this economy, I was thrilled to receive so much attention. Currently, I wholeheartedly love the field of education. Going to Vanderbilt granted me incredible experiences as I learned best educational practices.