“So, Emily, what are your plans after graduation?”

We all know that dreaded question. After all, I’ve been avoiding graduation for four long years. There are countless things I’ll miss — attending Fighting Texas Aggie football games, 75 cent pizza rolls at Gumby’s, even the countless hours I spent at the library and Lupa’s — but now, as family members prod about my plans, my anxiety has finally dwindled. I can proudly answer that I’m going back to school, but this time as the teacher.

As a student at Texas A&M, I’ve kept myself busy as a Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences major, captain of the lacrosse team, and Younglife Leader at Navasota High School. I entered college wanting to work in the nonprofit sector, possibly with a youth camp or after school program. It wasn’t until I started volunteering with young students who, despite their potential, weren’t given the same opportunities I had, that I started to see the systemic injustices in this country up close. I began to see the power and centrality of education.  

Texas A&M gave me the opportunity to take challenging classes and surround myself with people and activities that pushed my thinking. I want to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone after I graduate. I want to jump head-first into a career that will give me an opportunity to have an immediate impact. That’s why I chose to become a special education teacher in Los Angeles with Teach For America.

I believe that a classroom is a powerful place for social change. When I think about the social issues I’m most passionate about — freedom from discrimination, Black Lives Matter, mass incarceration, feminism, access to education — I came to realize that there’s no better place to tackle them than in the classroom. After all, education is the most powerful tool at our disposal to disrupt inequity and create opportunity.

As a corps member, I know I’ll face incredible challenges as I tackle these complex and systemic issues. But I also know that my experiences on campus — running student organizations, taking classes on youth development, and mentoring high school girls — have equipped me to take on these obstacles on behalf of my students. And if not me, then who?  

I look forward to creating a community with my students full of pride and school spirit, and I can’t wait to bring what I’ve learned here into my classroom.  I can’t wait to teach an entire classroom of Californians to yell “WHOOP.” When I think about the things I love most about being on this campus, I realize I can take so many of those experiences with me.

I’m excited to step out of our now-comfortable classrooms, libraries, and coffee shops to start my path as a leader in a different kind of classroom — one where I’ll get to impact the lives of the next generation as their teacher. A classroom where I’ll have the opportunity to make a positive change in a community I’ll call my new home.

So as you consider which path you’ll forge after graduation, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. We all have to leave Texas A&M someday, but I can think of no greater privilege than helping the next generation of students have the opportunity to become Aggies.

Emily Frazelle is a Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences and major with a minor is Psychology. She is also the captain of the lacrosse team and a 2017 Teach For America-Los Angeles corps member.  

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