Senior spotlight: Effie Albitz going back to class post grad

“So, Effie, what are your plans after graduation?” We all know that dreaded question. After all, I’ve been avoiding graduation for four long years. There are countless things I’ll miss—days spent at Mission Beach, California burritos from Sara’s, even the late nights spent studying in Copley—but now, as family members prod about my plans, my anxiety has finally dwindled. I can proudly answer that I’m going back to school, but this time as the teacher.

As a student at the University of San Diego, I’ve kept myself busy as a chemistry major and Spanish minor, tutoring and working as a teacher’s assistant for the chemistry department, working in a research lab, and participating in Greek Life. I always planned on putting my STEM skills to work in a career in medicine or pharmacy. It wasn’t until I started volunteering with young students who, despite their unlimited potential, weren’t given the same opportunities I had, that I started to see the systemic injustices in this country up close. I began to see the connection between education and health care.

USD gave me the opportunity to take challenging classes and surround myself with people and activities that pushed my thinking. I want to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone after I graduate. I want to jump head-first into a career that will give me an opportunity to have an immediate impact. That’s why I chose to become a teacher in the Twin Cities with Teach For America.

I believe that a classroom is a powerful place for social change. When I think about the social issues I’m most passionate about—gender equality, LGBTQ rights, affordable healthcare, and higher education—I came to realize that there’s no better place to tackle them head-on than in the classroom. After all, education is the most powerful tool at our disposal to disrupt inequity and create opportunity.

As a corps member, I know I’ll face incredible challenges as I tackle these complex and systemic issues. But I also know that my experiences on campus—tutoring and assisting in labs, taking classes on social justice, and community outreach in San Diego—have equipped me to take on these obstacles on behalf of my students. And if not me, then who? As a classroom leader, I’ll continue to shape my values and beliefs, find my voice as a leader, and more clearly define the impact I want to make on the world.

I look forward to creating a community with my students full of pride and school spirit, and I can’t wait to bring what I’ve learned at USD into my classroom. I can’t wait to teach an entire classroom to root for the Toreros. When I think about the things I love most about being on this campus, I realize I can take so much of those experiences with me.

I’m excited to step out of my now-comfortable classrooms, chemistry labs, and secret study spots to start my path as a leader in a different kind of classroom—one where I’ll get to impact the lives of the next generation as their teacher. A classroom where I’ll have the opportunity to make a positive change in a community I’ll call my new home. So as you consider which path you’ll forge after graduation, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Listen to the moments that have defined your college experiences thus far. We all have to leave USD someday, but I can think of no greater privilege than helping the next generation of students have the opportunity to become Toreros.

By Effie Albitz, Contributor