Barbardspoon: A teacher’s tale

Posted by kbarbardspoon on Friday, October 19, 2017 · Leave a Comment It’s been a while since I wrote a word here. For the first half of 2016, I had moved halfway around the…

Barbardspoon: A teacher’s tale

Posted by kbarbardspoon on Friday, October 19, 2017 · Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since I wrote a word here. For the first half of 2016, I had moved halfway around the world, as someone with a family and social life on the other side of the world found themselves at a crossroads in their lives.

This took some serious effort. Although I have traveled the world with my family and friends, this time was absolutely different. I had come to the conclusion that for my business, I needed to move to the United States of America, and it was on me to figure out a way to finally get on a plane, climb a few flights of stairs and leave a whole country I knew almost nothing about.

My son’s home country was not a hard sell, as he was a science teacher in an American high school, and it was as we established a connection with our local community that I discovered I had found a unique personality that I could latch onto. He already played the violin, so I decided to become a professional violinist, and soon after found myself in Chicago for a year.

My story wouldn’t be complete without telling my journey of being accepted to UMass. I arrived in Amherst with the intention of actually applying, but not applying. I did not understand the application process. I was determined to fly up here and show I had the mettle to stick it out in America’s most sought-after educational institution.

The requirement to have a faculty adviser is a colossal pain, since I had no prior experience teaching, but I took initiative, and when I told one of my friends I had a ton of energy that I could use to find one, she said, “Don’t wait until you have the nerve to ask.” That was not so difficult to do, at all. The committee took me very seriously and I got an advisor the following year.

I still don’t fully understand the time consuming nature of the application process, since I applied to non-resident students from all over the world, and was just one of a hundred applicants for one position. I never thought I would be able to pay the full application fee of $900 and still finish on time, but with help from family, friends and my team at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I was able to complete it. Of course, I didn’t get into UMass, but this year is the year I put my experience in place and prove I can play.

As another strong year of rejection loomed, someone in my speech club, The People’s Palace of Etymology, said, “If you want to be a great performer, play lots of little parts and not get too much exposure.” This was really put in perspective this year. After a long list of rejection letters and being told to kill myself, I felt the strength come from underneath me that I have been missing.

I feel like this whole year has been worthwhile. I have more purpose than I’ve ever had, and you can tell that from my impassioned speeches. If someone is willing to spend six years on the journey, I’m gonna hang out in the right place for a year and see what happens.

The University of Massachusetts is a unique place, and I am excited to be a part of it. I’m finally certain I’ve made the right decision, and that perseverance is the most beautiful way to move forward.

Katherine Barbardspoon can be reached at [email protected]

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