This post is a part of my 10-day #Countdownto30 series. The series recaps important milestones from every year of my 20s. You can view all posts in this series at http://shellysaysso.com/tag/countdownto30/
2008 was a big year. I finished my MBA program with overseas coursework in South Africa (an amazing experience!!). I was having a ridiculous amount of fun dating 5 guys at once. And the small company I worked for got purchased by a huge company, turning my stock options into the potential for some cold hard cash overnight. Things were looking up. But, being suddenly without schoolwork or a steady boo-thang I felt like I needed something else to do with my time after work.
After one too many Saturday afternoons wondering what was next, I woke up with a Eureka! I should be a Professor. I had this new degree but I wasn’t about to leave my job. So I had to do something with it. So why not fill my time by teaching some night courses?
I went to the internet to try and figure out what it would take. I looked at some schools online who had ads looking for Adjunct Faculty, but nothing struck my fancy. After thinking about it a little bit, I realized I really wanted to teach young Black students like myself. If I was going to dedicate my time teaching business, I wanted to do it with the students who needed my specific perspective the most. They didn’t need me Towson or University of Maryland. They needed my example at Coppin or Morgan. Yes! This was it!
At this point, it was June. I emailed the heads of Marketing at Coppin and Morgan explaining my academic and professional credentials and my desire to be in the classroom. Coppin responded first. After some interviews and me proactively sharing some lesson plans and project ideas, they agree to throw me to the wolves in the Fall Semester. THe problem was, all the Marketing spots at night were filled. Where they needed help was in Financial Management. Oh, dear.
We talked through last semester’s syllabus and I went through the textbook for a while to make sure I felt comfortable with all the material. Mostly it was basic financial accounting stuff I had learned in undergrad. It wasn’t ideal, but when you have an opportunity to add “Professor” to your resume at 24, you do that shit. So I did that shit. I put together my lesson plans, tried to dress “professorial”, and did my thug thizzle.
It turned out to be one of the most fulfulling experinces I’ve had in my life. At least half the students were older than me, so I felt the pressure. I was mistaken for a student most of the time. I got approached by students trying to holla A LOT of the time. But in my classroom, they loved me. I didn’t pretend that Finance was the most awesome thing ever and they were all going to do it as a career. The class was specifically for non-majors. So, I grounded everything in how it would be used and understood in real life. I gained confidence as a public speaker, as a teacher, and as a professional. And I felt like I was giving back in my own way.
At 24, I learned how good it feels to give back as you move forward.