My Education Degree Will Take Me Places
By Navraj Narula, SED 2016
I will always and forever want to be a teacher. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming an actress. I can also see myself as a writer, lawyer, CS programmer, or photographer – these careers encompass things I am passionate about; however, when it came time to pick a major, I went with education and I do not regret it all. I still want to be a teacher, more than anything else.
This summer, I applied to Boston University Study Abroad’s internship program in Washington, D.C. I expected my program manager to seek out an internship in a summer school program, a tutoring service company, or anything related to me having direct contact with students. However, this was not the case. Instead, I was advised to apply to non-profit think tanks. I felt as if a lot of these places were not even remotely related to my major, except perhaps The Center for Education Reform (CER). So, I sent in my application to CER hoping to hear back from them with a “Yes!”
That “Yes!” from the organization’s executive vice president may have been about the best thing that had ever happened to me yet. I am an international student, ethnically Indian and born and raised in Thailand. Having the chance to intern in the capital of the United States, even at a non-profit organization a lot of people have never really heard about (although they should!), was a big deal to me. I was excited to learn what the working world was like and I came back to Boston University truly as a young professional.
At my internship, I did not receive the opportunity to work with students directly; and for the first time, I found that okay. I worked with my office instead: the development team, the communications team, and even the leadership team. I planned an event, featuring panelists specializing in educational policy, with my fellow interns. Additionally, I attended a policy briefing on the Hill related to rural education and was even able to meet with Katherine Haley, a policy advisor to the Speaker of the House, to discuss educational policy.
Policy – it was everywhere. I researched it at my internship, wrote an essay on it in my political strategies class, and came home to find my friends pushing for one interest over another. I had never considered a subject like political science to be of interest to me. I thought I would be studying governmental structure, the law-making process, and the philosophy of the Framers. However, political science is more than that. It is advocating for an issue you care about; it is lobbying in all areas and diversity represented in one room, as it should be. It is just interesting. Do I want to be a lawyer now? No. However, I can see myself involved in a career in educational policy. My biggest takeaway from CER and interning in D.C. is that if I set my mind to something, I actually could accomplish that task – better than I thought I ever would.
I still want to be a teacher, but I am thankful for my policy-related internship. There are many things that an education major can do, and I am glad that I at least know that I have the option to engage in another profession if I wanted to.
Navraj Narula is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in English Education and concentrating in TESOL.