Julie, Scholar of the MonthPosted 09.25.13
Living and studying in the Big Apple has been an eye-opening experience for Marylander Julie Wrobel. She writes, “It was definitely a culture shock, moving from the suburbs of Maryland to the heart of New York City. I knew it was going to be an adjustment, but I was not prepared for how much of an adjustment.” Supported by a grant from The Kassap Scholarship Fund for Teachers, Julie began her graduate studies at Columbia University’s Teachers College in 2011.
Julie’s desire to remain connected to the classroom during her Manhattan sojourn was strong. “Learning and teaching are my passions and I wanted to still be part of it.” She began searching for “a minor role in a classroom (part-time assistant, students aide, etc.),” but her credentials impressed her interviewers and she was instead offered full time positions by public schools.
“As flattering as the offers were, I knew I couldn’t be a head teacher because of my graduate courses. I ended up working for a private special needs school to assist in lessons in the 7th grade.” Julie’s schedule allowed her to remain connected to a classroom “full of energetic and eager students,” while remaining focused on her graduate studies.
New York life introduced additional demands on her time and finances. “Another thing I have realized while living in New York City is just how expensive everything really is—even a cup of coffee!” To supplement her income, Julie tutored public school students three hours a week. She also found time to volunteer (Julie is pictured on the left working with Habitat for Humanity).
Learning has been a multi-faceted experience for Julie Wrobel. When she returns to Maryland with her graduate degree in Elementary Education, she will bring with her knowledge that has given her a broader understanding and appreciation for education. She has a treasure trove of experiences from interviews with New York City school administrators, interactions with students at the special needs school where she worked, insights gained from the NYC public school students she tutored, and new time management skills she implemented to organize a busy life.
“I have found it a bit challenging to balance everything…my schedule and my extracurricular activities, so I am usually pretty busy,” she says, “but then again so is every other New Yorker, so I suppose I fit right in!”