Keep an Open Mind

Throughout life, I have had many great role models that have influenced my life. These role models are the people that have given me great life quotes, dreams, goals, and inspiration. They include my parents, my teachers, and my grandparents. My family has always been supportive of my endeavors, and my friends have been tricked into following- this may or may not have been a wise decision. The following includes the top five events that have helped make me the person I am today.


Photo CC-By Christopher Sessums

Throughout life, my parents have always told me to keep an open mind about everything I come in contact with because you never know how it will play out. It did not matter to them if I saw differently on topics than they did because they wanted me to become my own person. This statement has stuck with me, and now that I think about it, this statement was and still is the basis of my learning.


Photo CC-By {Flixelpix} David

Throughout elementary school, I tried to master everything. I loved life, and I especially loved to learn. During my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade years, I had three amazing teachers that challenged me and encouraged me to reach my goals. They were the teachers that helped me realize that I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to be someone who helped, challenged, and encouraged others to do anything their mind could fathom.

These three teachers do not know it, but they are the teachers I think about when someone wants a description of a great teacher. They are the start of my journey to coming to Chadron State College to earn a degree in education. It is these three teachers and my parents’ moto that keep me going on the path I am on right now.


Photo CC-By chrisjohnbeckett

As I went through school, I strived to be at the top of my class on graduation day. On this day, I ended up giving a speech. The speech I wanted to give is quoted in the picture above, “I’d like to thank google, wikipedia and copy &paste.” This was the quote that described most of my class. The more that was freely given to them, the better. However, I used my better judgment and delivered a different speech. My entire class also somehow managed to walk away with teachers who wanted to see us succeed.

High school was one of my favorite times in life. I was lucky to be in a class that did not have extremely well-defined clicks, and everyone seemed to get along most of the time. I learned a lot through this time because of my many activities. I learned how to juggle classes along with extracurricular activities, family, and church. I also learned more about Chadron State College because many of my teachers graduated from CSC.


Photo CC-By Ali Eminov

My learning experience at CSC had been a great one so far. My freshman year was rough. In my first semester, I had 18 credits with CHEM I and Lab being 4 credits and CALC I being another 5. My next semester endured with a frustrating professor through the class of Education Psychology. I thought I was prepared for that year, but it hit me hard. I thankfully made friends that helped me through the year. Many of them are still close friends today. I also gained a lot of information outside of the classroom. I feel like this happens to almost everyone who attends college. The main thing I have learned from college is that education is gained more from outside the classroom than inside the classroom.


Photo CC-By Alan Levine

The last major event that helped me continue on my path to becoming a teacher was the death of my grandpa. Now, many of you may think that this is sad or strange, but to me, it is quite the opposite. After my grandpa died, I did not want to return to Chadron State College. I wanted to hang out with family and enjoy life. However, this point in time was when my dad and his siblings talked about grandpa’s passion for learning.

I did not realize it, but my grandpa was a lifelong learner. He was always good at math, he loved reading, and his penmanship was phenomenal. I never really think he lost his mind before he died, but he came to peace with the idea of leaving us behind for a better place. The one big thing my I remember my dad telling me was that it was my grandpa’s dream to have all of his grandchildren graduate from college. I never heard him say it, but I was told his motto was “Your education is the only thing people can never take away from you. Make it count.”

The combination of these events has helped shape me to be the learner I am today. I always try to keep an open mind about everything. I also try to learn things that cannot be taught in a classroom. Most importantly, I try to make every moment of my education count.




  1. Barbara,
    I find it so inspiring that you got your inspiration from your grandfather. For many people they think of death as the loss of something. I try to think of it as the start of something new. He left his legacy so you can finish yours. Do you think you would still be as passionate about teaching as you are today if your grandpa had never passed?



    1. Jolee,
      I do not know what my life would be like if my grandpa was still on Earth. I know there would have been a lot fewer tears shed, but I also think he would have pushed me to go farther into my learning just like he did after his death.
      Great Question.


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