A Ph.D. in Flexibility

By Cori Agnoni, Secondary Education and English Major / ACH Clear Pathways and Community Writing Center Intern

An ongoing battle that I am struggling with in all aspects of my life (especially now more than ever) is how to be flexible. No matter how much I try to model myself after my peers, professors, and people around me, I always doubt myself. I’m a Type A person that loves color-coded schedules and following meticulously crafted plans. As I grow older, I realize not everyone around me is like that. This internship is introducing situations that require me to adapt and go with the flow—something I’ve never been good at. I’ve struggled with how to teach when my students don’t want to learn. I’ve had iPad cases closed on me and been ignored when trying to ask questions, like “How was your day?” or “Are you ready to learn?”. Thinking back to a week ago, one child only wanted to watch YouTube. He was uninterested in doing the worksheets I found and the virtual treasure hunt I had planned; Teen Titans Go was the only appealing option in his eyes. So I shared my screen and streamed an episode from YouTube because sometimes it’s easier to say ‘yes’ than start a battle, especially through a screen, right?

I’m learning this semester is all about flexibility. The students’ physical space at ACH is under a large amount of construction and changes just as much as our virtual realm that my colleagues and I created. Saying we never know what to expect might be an understatement. These first few weeks of this internship haven’t followed my color-coded schedules or the plans that I crafted, but I am learning more this way. I am learning life-long skills that can be applied in multiple disciplines. The best way to earn your Ph.D. in flexibility is to experience what it demands first hand. Just like anything in life, it isn’t going to be easy, directions aren’t given, and my limits are being tested, but another week has passed and I am still grateful that I accepted this opportunity.

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