Education · Great Stories · Reflections · Service · Social Justice · Work

Great Stories part I: Optimism despite adversity.

At College Possible, we’re required to write four “Great Stories” about our students over the course of the term of service.  This is a fantastic opportunity to really think back on our conversations and interactions with our students and reflect.  Some stories are funny, others are inspirational, but no matter what the tone they are always reminders of why we do what we do and why College Possible and our students as a whole matter to us.  I thought I would share the four that I wrote this year for my next few blog posts.  I’m only using first initials for the sake of my students’ privacy.  All that said, here’s my first Great Story!  An update on the lives of these students is below.

“While she is not one of the students that I have been able to contact as much as I would like, the one meaningful conversation I had with T was really memorable. We started off the conversation like I would normally with a student: talking about classes. She was taking online classes through the University of Phoenix, but was also on academic probation. Shortly into our conversation T brought up the fact that she was technically homeless, and with winter rapidly approaching she would need money for warmer clothes. Thankfully, she was staying with her grandmother for the time being, but seemed to be expecting to be couch surfing for the foreseeable future. I offered her as much support as I could, but it’s always hard to know exactly what to say in those kinds of situations. Eventually we got back on the topic of school, and T started talking about things she would like to do in her life and her ambitions. That’s when the whole tone of the conversation changed. She started talking about how she would love to work on a cruise ship, focus on hospitality for her schooling, or maybe even open up her own bakery. All of this was over text, but she was clearly so excited about everything and completely genuine and excited. I can imagine that if we were having the conversation face-to-face her eyes would have literally lit up. That kind of attitude is one of the more inspiring things I have seen from our students.

I have not made contact with T since that conversation, but I remember thinking afterwards that students like her are the reason we do what we do. She was faced with so much adversity and facing even more difficult times ahead, but somehow she remained optimistic. I know T has goals and ambition, and that’s so inspirational given everything else that was going on. She has been told that college is possible and that she has a future, and all of this is why College Possible matters.”

I have been able to make contact with T since I wrote this.  Our conversations have still been difficult ones and with everything going on in her life she was not able to continue with school.  However, she never failed to thank me for my support and even for simply reaching out to see how things were going.  While she’s not in the best of places right now, I can tell that T still has that motivation to go to school and be successful.  Her goals are there, and I definitely think she can get there with the proper guidance.

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