In 5th grade, I finished the Little House on the Prairie series, and I remember feeling conflicted about my sadness. That was the first time I experienced the heartbreak of a literary goodbye. My teacher at the time encouraged me with the reminder that there were still so many good books to read, and that finishing Little House helped me become a better reader for them.
I experienced a similar heartbreak when I graduated from college in 1997. I muddled through weeks of not knowing who I was if I wasn’t a student. I wish I had remembered my 5th grade teacher’s advice from a decade prior, because now I see that it applies: everything I learned helped me to become a better learner.
In both heartbreaks, my solution was the same…keep reading. To quote Dr. Harapnuik, “There has never been a better time to be a learner.” I am at the end of the road for my Master’s degree, and am feeling a type of heartbreak, but I see that I am in a better position to continue in my journey because of how I have learned to see myself as a learner.
As I think about that journey ahead, I’m not sure what it will look like. I’m not sure if there is even a road! But I know how to ask the questions to get me to where I’m going. I know how to find the right people along the way. I’m not afraid to fail, and excited about all there is to learn.
I would never have thought this kind of synthesis would come out of this program. But more than digital learning, the ADL program has taught me to be prepared for an education future that doesn’t exist. I am better positioned now to be a contributor of learning for my students or anyone else that is willing to create with me a road that no one has yet taken.