A Conversation with Brooke Reynolds, Class of 2019

FDU student Brooke Reynolds talks about life, her experiences at FDU and her ambitions as a future teacher.

Tell us about your life growing up.

I grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. It was the best place to live. It's only three miles long, and my dad served as a police officer in town for 28 years. Everywhere I went I would know someone. My grandpa would always take me down the park to play in the playground and enjoy the fresh air. 

I was also very involved in sports including basketball, softball and soccer. When I was not participating in sports I was playing outside with friends. I had a very active childhood and also one that I loved. 

Were there any challenges in your life? How did you overcome them?

Although I am only twenty years old, I see myself as a very resilient person. I have had to adjust to several difficult, new situations. Specifically, I had switch schools numerous times due to closing for low enrollment. While most of my friends had consistency in their lives, I did not. 

In fifth grade the Archdiocese of Newark announced that all the Catholic elementary schools in Bayonne New Jersey would be merging into one. Although this meant that I would have to change schools, it did not affect me as much because my friends would also be going to this new school. 

During my sophomore year of high school, it was announced that the school, Holy Family Academy, would be closing its doors in June. This news broke my heart, as I truly loved and adored this school. Instead of looking for colleges, I now had to look for a brand new high school. 

I chose to attend a different high school than all my friends, and I had to start as a brand new student in my junior year. I was worried about this, however, the girls at Notre Dame Academy made me feel like I had been with them for the past two years, and I am ever grateful for that experience. 

In the fall of 2015, I started my college experience at Sacred Heart University. I was so excited to go away and see what college life was truly like. However, I soon called my parents and told them that I was ready to come home and that going away to college was not meant for me. They told me to give it more time. 

The four months of my first college semester were the longest months of my life, but I knew that in order to get through it and to enjoy as much of it as possible, I had to remain positive.  I learned a lot about myself during this time. I learned how to be independent and the value of never quiting early on new adventures. 

Although Sacred Heart was not the school for me, I am ever grateful and proud of myself for trying out something new. These obstacles that I have faced throughout my life have helped me learn the true meaning of resiliency, and to remain positive through all situations. 

Why did you choose to attend FDU?

When I had made the decision to transfer home after my first semester of college and switch my major from athletic training and physical therapy to psychology and elementary education, I looked at every school in New Jersey that offered these programs. After researching schools online, FDU stood out for its 5-year master’s program in teaching. 

From the moment I stepped foot onto FDU's Florham Campus for my tour, I knew that this was the place I wanted to call home for the next five years. I loved the history behind the campus and its breathtaking grounds. Additionally, I received a scholarship that would help to pay my tuition. Choosing FDU was one of the best decisions of my life.

When I arrived at FDU as a transfer student in January 2016, I was extremely nervous and excited --nervous that I was not going to make friends, but also excited to embark on my new journey. After the first week of the semester, my feelings of being nervous disappeared. FDU is a place where the students are welcoming and the professor’s take the time to get to know you.  

Did you see a change in yourself after you arrived at FDU?

Before FDU, I was was extremely nervous to speak in front of people and was very shy. But Professor Ferrans, whom I had for a course in American government, saw my potential and encouraged me to become a member of the Mock Trial team, which requires a lot of public speaking. I am ever grateful to her for this. The skills I have learned are improving my classroom presentations, and thanks to her, I have discovered talents I never knew I had.  

Who has made the most impact on you?

Both of my parents have had the greatest impact on my life. They are my greatest supporters in life and I would not be the person I am today without them. From a young age they have instilled in me the confidence to never give up and to always try something new. These are skills that will only continue to benefit me for the rest of my life.

Why do you want to become a teacher?

I believe that I was truly called to teach. My main ambition in life is to help people and I believe the way I can best help those around me is to serve as a teacher. 

I am a true believer that education is a necessary tool in the game of life. It hurts me when I hear of kids being deprived of an education. School should be a place where students want to go, and are eager to learn something new each and everyday.

Throughout my school career, I have had many teachers who have stood out, but there is one teacher in particular who has made the most impact on me, and who has inspired me to become a teacher. Her name is Mrs. Donna. She teaches Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 in Bayonne. She goes above and beyond for all of her students to ensure they are performing their very best and remain interested in learning - a model I hope to adapt into my future classroom. I want my classroom to be a place where creativity flows and a place where each student feels they belong.