#PROFspective: Early Childhood Education and American Studies Major Chrissie McCabe

Rowan student Chrissie outside of Robinson Hall reading a book

Today, we speak with Chrissie McCabe, a senior early childhood education & American studies major from Mantua (Gloucester County), NJ, who commutes from home. Chrissie will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.

Name: Chrissie McCabeRowan student Chrissie sitting outside the Student Center at Rowan University
Major: Early Childhood Education; American Studies
Minors or concentrations: Teacher of Students with Disabilities Endorsement; Teacher of Reading Endorsement; Minor in Psychology
Year: Super Senior!
Transfer Student: Yes, I transferred from Rowan College at Gloucester County after two years there completing my associate degree in education.
Hometown and County: Mantua, NJ (Gloucester County)
Commuter: Yes, I live at home with my family.
Academic clubs: I am the president of Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honor Society), I am the president of the American Studies Club, Epsilon Alpha Kappa (The American Studies honor society), Early Childhood Club, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, NJEA Preservice.

Do you have an off-campus job?  Yes, I work as a one-on-one behavior therapist at a local private preschool. I work with students with preschool autism either at the school or at their homes to work on academic and social skills. I absolutely love my job! I also work as a Hostess at Carolina Blue in Pitman. 

Rowan student Chrissie wearing College of Education sweatshirt outside of James Hall on campus Why did you choose your major? I chose Early Childhood Education because I have always wanted to be a teacher. It was when I got to Rowan that I realized that I was in the right field because I truly love what I am learning and I feel so comfortable being in a classroom! I will be certified for preschool through third grade and I absolutely love all those grades! I chose American Studies as my dual major because I have always loved history. American Studies is a great interdisciplinary program that allows me to have so much content and background for what I am going to be teaching my students. I think it’s so important to have a strong content area for teaching and I love that American Studies is mine.

One reason why you chose Rowan: I chose Rowan because I knew that staying home for college was the best choice for me. I knew that I would do better academically if I did not have the distractions of living away. I also chose Rowan because it was the financially smart decision for me. It would allow me to keep my jobs and help pay for some of my college costs and since I was saving money on my living situation, I used that extra money to study abroad twice!Chrissie at the American Studies board at Rowan University

My typical day as a Rowan student:

Every day in my life is different, but Wednesdays are the busiest and most exciting days for me! I start my day early when I wake up at 6:00 am to get ready for my field experience. I get moving quickly and have to be out of the house at 6:45 to get to Rowan at 7. There, I meet up with my two friends and we carpool to field. We drive about an hour in the glorious morning rush hour traffic to get to our field experience school in Cherry Hill. I love driving with my friends because we get to catch up in the car and mostly talk about our upcoming assignments! We have been driving together since we all first transferred to Rowan in our junior year and it makes that early morning drive so much better!

Rowan student Chrissie outside James Hall in College of Education sweatshirt

We get to school at 8:15 and get started in our placements. This semester, I am placed in an inclusive preschool classroom and I absolutely love it! I have learned so much about being a teacher from this class and I am so grateful that I have a fantastic cooperating teacher and students. I spend the morning in the classroom teaching the students in their centers and as a group. At lunch, my friends and I normally pile back in the car to find lunch somewhere in the area. Our go-to places are Chick-Fil-A or Panera. We eat our lunch quickly and then drive back to school to do the same thing in the afternoon. The school is a half day preschool program so we have different students in the AM and PM sessions. At 3:30, we have to leave rather quickly because we have to be back at Rowan in time for my School Reading Problems class at 4:30.

Rowan student Chrissie reading a book outside Robinson Hall at Rowan University

When we get back to Rowan, I have to go straight to the Reading Clinic in James Hall. There, I am tutoring an elementary student on skills in reading and writing. It is such an incredible experience and I know it will make me a better teacher after having this opportunity. Plus, everyone in the clinic is so nice that it makes going there after a long day of field and driving much more fun! After one hour of tutoring with my student, I have class in the clinic conference room from 5:30-6:45. This class is invaluable because it allows me to discuss my plans for future sessions with my partner and my professor and it allows me to learn more about the assessments I have to give and learn teaching strategies. 

Chrissie in #ROWANproud shirt outside James Hall at Rowan University When the class is over at 6:45, I have to run really quickly over to a nursing home where I volunteer on Wednesday nights. I have been volunteering there since I was a senior in high school with my best friend. We play Scrabble with residents of the nursing home and to be honest, they’re better at the game than I am! I also love listening to their stories of their lives and they love hearing about what I am doing. 

The two residents we play with have been playing with us since we were getting accepted to college, transferring from community college, getting jobs, and now almost graduating! They love hearing about what we are doing and what’s going on since we saw them the week before. Plus, it’s nice because I get to spend some time with my best friend since we are both so busy and hardly ever get to see each other anymore. 

Chrissie at Rowan University outside James Hall in College of Education sweatshirt

After that, I drive back to Rowan for my daily club meetings. Since I am involved in so many clubs, I have to balance my meetings with my homework schedule. I am the president of the American Studies Club and we are planning a few events that are coming up soon. I like to have meetings to discuss our events with our advisors and the members, and plan what we need to do for each event. I love holding American Studies Club events because we are a tight-knit group which makes it so much more fun! I got involved in the club my junior year when I started at Rowan and I love the opportunities it has given me. The club has given me fantastic leadership experience as this is my third year as the president! Plus, I am involved in our honor society, Epsilon Alpha Kappa, which looks great on my resume! The professors in the major are so awesome and since I finished my American Studies degree this summer, I get to still see some of my favorite professors when I work with them for club events. Rowan student Chrissie outside on campus holding her bag and jacket

If I am not working on the American Studies Club events, I am either leading or attending another meeting. We have executive board meetings and general club meeting for Kappa Delta Pi monthly, and I am responsible for working with the rest of our officers to plan events for the local community. I also got to go to our KDP Convocation last month in Pittsburgh and meet so many other educators and KDP members from all over the world! I also attend meetings for one of the many other clubs I am involved in, mainly educational or American Studies related. I love learning more information about my majors and meeting other people in the major. I have built so many connections with other people in my majors through being involved in a club.

After that long and exciting day, I drive back home around 9:00. I spend some time talking to my parents and my sisters and hanging out with my dog! In all these hectic days, I have found that talking to my family at night helps keep my grounded and refocus my energy for the next day’s events. If I have time, I have to make sure I get some homework done, but mostly, I have to go to bed at 10:00 because I will have to be up early the next morning to do it all over again!

Story organized and photography by:
Vanessa Vause, junior public relations major and advertising minor

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