For Garrett Kitamura, the decision to come to Oregon State had him following in many sets of footsteps.
“My parents married when they were students at Oregon State, my brother went to Oregon State,” he says. “It was something that was indoctrinated in me from a young age.” But it was visiting the university as a senior in high school and smelling “that great Willamette Valley air” that Garrett says sealed the deal.
“I realized this was the place I needed to be; in a really tight-knit community, a good kind of small-town campus feel, but on top of it all, high-quality education.”
Pursuing education runs in his family as well. “I come from 3 generations of educators on my mom’s side of the family,” he says. Hearing his family talk about their experiences teaching is what solidified Garrett’s interest in education.
Garrett graduated from Oregon State’s undergraduate Double Degree program this spring with degrees in English and Education. His future plans include leaving the classroom – for now – to pursue a law degree that he hopes to one day use to benefit students.
He will begin studying at University of Virginia’s law school this fall. He says his time student teaching prepared him with skills relevant to any job. “Student teaching really helped me hone my ability to organize my thoughts and make very concise plans, while at the same time forcing me to improvise or think on my feet if things start crashing down.”
Garrett foresees himself working in the field of law that advocates for students rights, and hopefully one day returning to the classroom to teach.
“I want to be able to use my law degree to benefit students, and the education system. Whether that means bringing my knowledge into a classroom, or utilizing my experience to work on a litigating end on behalf of schools.”
Garrett says that many students in the College of Education struggle with the demanding course load that makes it difficult to hold part-time jobs and make additional income. “Something I think most people don’t even know when they’re entering the cohort is that the ability to bring in any sort of money on the side from a part time job is very impractical. In many cases impossible.”
“The joke people say is, ‘Oh, you went into teaching for the money, right?’ It’s not a high paying position, it’s something that people enter because they’re truly passionate,” he says.
“But at the end of the day, there are still bills that have to be paid.”