Stephanie Correa MSEd '14:
Graduate Student Speaker

We come to Sarah Lawrence committing ourselves to going deeper. That is the big promise of the Sarah Lawrence mission and I have reflected on this value every day since I started a short two years ago. As a member of the Art of Teaching program and a future educator, I am particularly enamored with the beautiful idea of going deeper and I challenge myself to consider how this idea translates into my life in the postgraduate world.

However, I recognize that I am not alone in this experience. All credentials and degrees aside, we are each lifelong learners and teachers committed to creating and building a just world. In an economic, political and social climate that doesn’t particularly favor the values that we share here at Sarah Lawrence, how do we hold onto our passions, our interests and our dreams while we embrace a world that isn’t exactly ready for us?

Scholar, activist, and critical world thinker Bell Hooks says, “To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.” We have had the privilege of sitting in classrooms that reflect this world view but as we enter new spaces in our lives, we will be faced with the challenge to recreate this community that honors our identities, our ideas, our abilities, and our contributions.

How will we foster a community of understanding and growth that celebrates diversity, difference, and resistance to the status quo? How do we curate a culture that values intersectional thought? How can we become passionate worldly learners and invested teachers in our communities beyond Sarah Lawrence? I have found that the answer is in this daily commitment to going deeper. We must ask the difficult questions. We must confront the complexities of our collective identities and experiences. We must be careful and critical of what is presented before us. We must practice the “having of wonderful ideas,” those big, thoughtful, creative and powerful ideas and most importantly, we must be open to making mistakes and willing to reflect on our missteps. Educational theorist Eleanor Duckworth simply says, “Learning is messy,” and above all, this is what Sarah Lawrence has given me. We will survive in the postgraduate world if we translate our campus values into a commitment to a lifelong communal sharing of knowledge, big ideas, and beliefs. And we will thrive if we are willing to get messy.