Category Archives: Kayla C.

Back to School…?

Author: Kayla Crawley Haidara

I’m still trying to determine what this phrase means to me now…a 27 year old with 5 years of work experience. Um…not much coming to mind. I’ve been out of school for more than a few years and it seems like I’ve got to go in my closet and find my big girl pants to gear up for what’s ahead. This Fall I will be starting a Master’s program in Teaching, Learning and Leadership at the Graduate School of Education. Of course, because I don’t just bite off opportunities, I tend to gorge myself with them, I am front-loading this semester with more courses than the typical part-time student. Why? Who knows? I must be crazy. No, the truth is I have a plan and want to push myself to see how quickly I can attain my goals (with the add/drop period as my safety net).  But another truth is that I’m scared shirtless!!! Coming to Penn for undergrad presented its own anxieties, mainly around what I had to prove to my family and loved ones whose support brought me to that point.

Today, I have much more to prove to one person, myself – and, for some reason, that burden feels heavier. At the start of a long road that I’m hoping ends with an Ed.D. or Ph.D., it’s easy for me to feel daunted. However, the good thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. I’ll be sure to take this semester moment-by-moment, cherishing even those instants camping out in my office to finish a term paper, or going straight to my office from an all-nighter at Van Pelt (I promise to pack deodorant).  I’ll just have to remember that even on trying days, I’ll still be one step closer to my goals than I was the day before. GSE get ready for me!!


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The Other Side of the Coin

Author: Kayla Crawley, C’07

Stepping foot on campus for the first time as an administrator was at the very least, surreal.  My mind wasn’t quite sure what to make of the experience – it was like some sort of unfamiliar nostalgia. Exactly, it made no sense. Having graduated from Penn in 2007, I don’t feel too far removed from the student experience. Everything I see and smell on campus conjures a memory from my 18-21 year-old pre-adulthood.  Looking out of my other lens, these familiar spaces also summon feelings of new found excitement and energy for the unknown.

Having been in my position as Alumni Relations Coordinator for University Life for a little less than 6 months, I can say that not much and everything, has changed at Penn. The University’s infrastructure may be changing – new buildings, new administrators, new programs – but its essence, something you can’t necessarily put to words, is the same.  To go from being a blurry-eyed junior running down Locust Walk dodging salmon and ketchup from rambunctious seniors, to volunteering as a staff member passing out canes and hats to the 2012 junior class, was a salient moment. I realized that in 2006 as a junior, when I ran up to get my hat and cane from whoever was working the booth, I had no idea where I would be in 6 years’ time.

Hey Day, 2006

I’m still not sure I have the answer that question today, but it feels god to be back at Penn figuring it all out.

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