Peachy Academy: My Academic Background

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Hello loves and welcome back to Peachy Academy!

To start off this series, I thought it was fitting that I share my academic background with you. This series would not be comprehensive without disclosing this information. I believe that my perspective, advice, and potential mentorship can be better understood once you take a peek into my educational path.

As I mentioned in the introduction post, school has been a massive part of my life. However, I would not consider my academic journey as typical or average. For example, I have been privileged enough to attend private school for six years. Although I am aware that I had a lot leverage in my education, I want you to take everything with a grain of salt.

Remember that education, life, and success is not always linear.

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** a/n: Although I am being as detailed and open as possible, I do not intend to disclose the exact name and location of these educational establishments. I may have shared some of these specifics on other platforms, but I will not blatantly name them in this series. **

Alright, let us start from the very beginning!

I would say that my educational career began in preschool when I attended a private daycare for about two years. To be honest, I do not remember much from this time. The only memory that I can vividly describe is my accident that sent me to the ER to get stitches on my chin. I do remember being involved in a lot of activities and my mom has actually saved a lot of my work and pictures from this time!

Luckily, this day care is still in business, and they have an informative website. This specific daycare provides various programs for various age groups. Here, they use the Funshine and McGraw Hill curriculum. Apparently, the Funshine Express is a company that is dedicated to the principle that learning is best facilitated in an environment which is challenging, hands-on, and fun. This specific preschool promotes stimulating and fun learning activities throughout the year. They also help promote a nurturing environment that encourages social, emotional, and intellectual, and physical growth and development.

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Primary school was also a little blurry for me. There were a lot of changes and activities that occurred within this period. From kindergarten through second grade, I attended a private catholic school. At each grade level, we learned about the catholic church, religion, and Spanish on top of our normal classes.

During this time, I balanced my academics with various extracurricular activities, such as: ballet, piano, and Kumon. Kumon is a supplemental education service to improve math and reading skills through short, incremental assignments. These assignments, or packets, were structured to teach kids by a step-by-step self-learning method.

Once I reached the third grade, my siblings were reaching school age, and my parents made the decision to enroll us at our local public elementary school for financial reasons. As I entered the public school system, Sunday school at our Vietnamese Catholic church became a part of my weekly schedule. Every Sunday, during the school year, I would attend mass at noon and would be on church grounds until 5pm. After mass, we would get an hour off for lunch and then we would participate in leadership and stewardship activities, followed by Vietnamese and religion classes.

At this point, I believe I started to feel the pressure of academics and began to lose passion in my extracurricular activities. To this day, I regret quitting ballet at such a young age. By the end of third grade, my ballet teacher recommended that I begin preparing for pointe. This meant that I needed to be at the studio more for longer training periods. Although I was excited to advance to the next level, I was not allowed to withdraw from Kumon or Sunday school. As a third grader, I understood that there were not enough hours in the day and I was not diligent enough to participate in all of these extracurricular activities. It ultimately came down to sacrificing ballet or piano.

As much as I loved ballet, I chose piano because I could easily practice within the comfort of my own home. We would not have to travel so much to attend practice or training. If you could have guessed, I ended up quitting piano less than a year later.

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By the time middle school rolled around, I had kind of forgotten about my private school life. I don’t think I shared this information with many people at that time. I also had every intention to attend public school for the rest of my life. I had even attended an extracurricular activity fair over the summer and was fitted to play the violin or viola if I decided to be a part of orchestra. However, my parents announced that my brothers would be enrolled at my old private school to integrate their first confession and communion into their curriculum.

I cannot fully remember the reason why I decided to go along with the decision. I believe it was because I could not handle the teasing and bullying at the time (however I did not realize that it would continue past elementary school). I just remembered how simple it was in private school.

Ultimately, I decided to return to my old school. It was an awkward and weird transition as I was returning with little memory of everyone. I also did not consider all the changes and drama that might have taken place over the last three years. I had a lot of catching up to do with the social aspect of school.

I continued to attend Sunday school throughout sixth grade and joined the sixth-grade volleyball team. It took me some time to get used to playing and was already a year behind, compared to everyone else. Over time, I grew more accustomed to the sport and began to become more passionate about it. Since teams were divided amongst grade levels within our school and diocese, our team was pretty much set in stone. We even won the division two championships in seventh grade!

Although a lot of my teammates participated in club volleyball, I was not as interested in all the traveling required. I did attend a lot of training camps and seasonal tournaments, which was a lot of fun!

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Now, we reach high school after graduating from private school and receiving the sacrament of confirmation. Although a lot of the private high schools were very pretty and lavish, the price and distance for that education was not practical to me. If I wanted to attend a private high school, my parents said it had to be at the all-girl’s school. However, none of it was really appealing to me.

Luckily, majority of my closest friends had decided to attend public high school, and we were still close to a lot of our private school friends at this age.

So, here I am, about to make another big transition into the public school system and into a brand-new high school. Although we were a part of the same school district as my elementary school, there were more new faces that I was not familiar with. My school district was large compared to neighboring districts. It is a little challenging to describe it in words, so please refer to the sketch below:

It took me some time to find the right friend group for me. I was quite the social butterfly, which still surprises me today. I had many friend groups between the kids in my classes, the volleyball team, my private school friends, and my old elementary school friends and their friends.

Fun fact, I met my current boyfriend in freshman year of high school. I can’t believe that it has been ten years since we first met. It’s so insane!

After freshman year, I decided to pull myself out of volleyball due to instability issues with my knees. It was also quite complicated to participate in off season activities, especially since I did not have my driver’s license yet. If we were wanting to be a part of off-season training, we would have to drive to the senior high early in the morning, and then bus our way back to our high school by second period.

Throughout my high school career, I was enrolled in a handful of honors and advanced placement classes. My senior high school also provided the IB, or international baccalaureate, diploma program. I was not aware of this program until the 11th grade. At times, I needed additional help and had a tutor for pre-calculus and physics.

By the time senior year came, I was a part of a handful of clubs and organizations, including drill team, or the dance squad (I am aware that drill team is also referred as part of ROTC). Although I tried out for the team, I was not included in the final lineup. Instead, I applied for a manager position, and was able to still enjoy various aspects of the team.

I graduated high school in the spring of 2015 in the top 27% with a class size of about 1,250 students.

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My alma mater was one of the most affordable public universities in the state of Texas, and it was within commuter distance from my family’s home. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology in 2019. There are many things I wish to discuss about my undergraduate career, and I plan to make separate posts about my experiences for this series.

This was the most challenging time for me in my educational career. I do not believe my high school fully prepared me for university. There was a prolonged period where I questioned everything in life, including my purpose and overall existence. At this point in time, I was overly sensitive, overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. It felt as if everything I did was incorrect without explanation.

I sacrificed a lot of my social life and relationships as I balanced a full course load while working 1-2 part time jobs. Even with my presumed diligence, I was not getting the grades that I wanted and needed for physical therapy school requirements.

I was extremely stressed out to say the least.

It ultimately took me three attempts and years to be considered worthy enough for physical therapy school. Until this pervious application cycle, I consistently got rejection letters without invitations to interviews. My experiences thus far have taught me so many things and my perspectives have naturally changed.

Now, come this fall, I will be entering a new chapter in my educational and professional journey. I will be attending a private physical therapy program, and by 2024 I will be a Doctor of Physical Therapy. After feeling stuck for many years, I will be entering unchartered territory as I transition into the next stage in life. I am excited but extremely nervous due to my experiences in university. I am aware that it is a whole new ball game, but the fear of relapsing and failing still lingers.

᠃ ⚘᠂ ⚘ ˚ ⚘ ᠂ ⚘ ᠃

Regardless of everything, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. For example, had I gotten in right after undergrad, I would have been struggling to keep afloat in all aspects. There was a lot that I learned about the academic process and, more importantly, myself. When I reflect on this, I realized that I needed these three years to grow into myself and understand what this profession meant to me.

Additionally, had I gotten in right after undergrad, I would have struggled to find rotation sites and completing advanced courses online, without in-person practice, during the peak of a global pandemic.

I know this post was long, and I commend you for making it to the end. Again, I feel like this post was important in laying out the foundation of this series. As we continue, I will be referring to this specific post when we delve into more specific aspects of my opinions, perspectives, and advice on education.

Next time, I will be tackling the discussion of private school vs. public school! Throughout the years, I have had many people ask me which I preferred and which setting I thought was the best for my education. I am hoping that I can gather some different perspectives from my friends who endured private school with me!

Until next time loves~

With love, Joslyn

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