This has been an interesting school year. In my last post I was entering the last year of my Master’s program and beginning practicum/internship. I had no idea what was in store for me. Great things. Great people. Granted, there were a few hiccups along the way due to differences in communication, but when looking at the “big picture” I can truly say I had a successful year overall. My purpose was to help others and that’s what I did. I spent the last year working with a university program for students on academic probation and with the university’s counseling center. It was a little stressful and time-consuming at times [the admin part], but most of the time it was fun, interesting, uplifting, eye-opening, and INSPIRING!
I worked with students ranging from freshmen to 2nd-year seniors of all ages, races, majors, socio-economic statuses, etc. They were all different, but they all had one thing in common: In their own little way, they inspired me. You see, I was there to help them. Life had thrown them a curve ball and they were picking themselves up and dusting off while I was there to help them find their way to first base. In the process [on the way to first base], many of them shared the details of their struggle [the curve ball] and I was inspired by their strength and their determination. Now, if you were to ask them about this strength and determination that I speak of some would probably deny its existence. But, I saw what many of them were unable to see – what many others don’t take the time to see. I saw them from the inside out – and I was truly inspired.
Today, I just want to say Thank You – not only to my students, but also to the students around the world that they represent. So…
Thank You to the students with medical conditions who are striving to reach their goals in school/life – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students with children (mothers and fathers) who are studying to get an education so they can provide for their children – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who are married with children and working while going to school – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who don’t get financial aid and the students whose financial aid doesn’t cover their expenses that are working and finding ways to stay in school – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the first-generation college students who feel pressure and are striving to make the grades – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who are miles away from home and doing their best to adjust to college – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who have lost loved ones and find a way to get out of bed and make it to class – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the foreign students who are striving to learn and understand our language, our history, our studies so they can succeed – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who don’t have a support system and manage to keep their heads up and cheer themselves on – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who have problems with family, friends, love, etc. and push themselves to make it through each day – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the student athletes who practice every day – all day, attend games, etc. and still strive to do well in their classes – Strength and Determination
Thank You to the students who struggle with a lack of motivation, study skills, test-taking skills, etc. and are working to get better in those areas – Strength and Motivation
Thank You to the students who are dealing with depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, grief, low self-esteem, etc. while in school and are finding the courage to talk with someone – Strength and Determination
Thank You to ALL of the students I worked with this year who shared pieces of yourself – your story – with me. Even those of you who were hesitant and/or resistant left an imprint on my heart. I hope you know that I See You and what you have inside. If you don’t see it now, I’m hoping that one day you will.
Sometimes the negative connotations associated with being on probation or going to counseling can make students forget what they have inside – what has gotten them this far. Today, I just wanted to focus on that. Strength and Determination.
Please understand, I’m not saying “Thank You” because these are good things that students go through, I’m saying “Thank You” because IN SPITE OF it all they keep coming back and they have not given up on themselves. By seeing this, I was inspired! Hopefully, you [readers] will be too.
~ Ciara L. Walker