An Open Letter Of Gratitude To My High School

An Open Letter Of Gratitude To My High School

To some, going to an all-girls high school would seem like hell, to me it was the best four years of my life (so far).
1960
views

To my high school,

I feel like our relationship is very much like a parent and child relationship. Except, instead of having two parents, I had at least 36, but most definitely more. Throughout the four years I spent in your company, I loved and appreciated you, but also was a stubborn kid who wasn’t always a fan of the work and the rules and the parent’s guidance.

However, now that I have been away on my own for two years, my gratitude and sense of appreciation for everything you gave me has only grown and will continue to grow as I go throughout life.

The six classes a day that produced piles a homework were certainly not my favorite things in the moment. The stress was high and seemingly never-ending. But now, that I have five classes, most of which only meet twice a week but still produce the same amount of work, I know I can tackle these to-do lists of assignments because I already have four years of experience in my back pocket.

It is not just my time and stress management that grew, it was the academic work and the high expectations from high school classes that now provide me with confidence in the work I turn in to my professors today. Today when I am assigned a 7-10 page paper, I am not scared because I don't know where to start, instead, I receive the assignment knowing that while it may be a challenge and it will require time and energy, I have the skills and background necessary to do a good job on it.

However, strong work ethic and ability is not cultivated just because of the assignments a student hands in. The people who teach you how to do these assignments and do them well is what makes the difference. I am the scholar I am today because of the English teacher who taught me how to create an argument for a paper, and then after having me for two years pulled me aside in front of a group of my peers to tell me how much growth he had seen in me. To this day, whenever I get frustrated or unsure of my abilities, I think of this moment and it reminds me that I am good at what I am doing and I can get the work done.

The teachers I had, and even some who I didn’t, were constant cheerleaders for all of us at our school. The teacher from freshman year who always complimented me after working at open house events. The teacher who spent hours helping me work with another teacher to write a speech at the end of senior year. The teacher who selected me for a leadership position for a retreat.

These things, little things, really add up. Everyone who would smile, wave, and offer a greeting as we passed in the hallways. Knowing that I was in a place where I was supported, and encouraged made me want to go to school every day.

While there is the stereotype that four years of high school are the worst four years of a person’s life and once they graduate, and move on to the next thing in life they are filled with a sense of relief, I am glad this did not hold true for me. Conversely, when I received my diploma and realized at the end of the summer I would not be coming back to my high school, but would instead be moving across the country to begin college, I was filled with an immense sense of melancholy.

I knew that in some respects, the school had given me all that it could and that if I could have somehow found a way to sneak back for a fifth year, the experience would not be the same, however I don’t think I fully understood how much I would continue to learn from the school once I did arrive at college.

I have truly understood how much my school empowered me in so many different respects, but mainly to share my voice and be unafraid to pursue the things you most want and carry yourself with confidence, unafraid of what others may think.

The school also left a visible impression on me in the way I carry myself as well. On two separate occasions, once by the nurse at the doctor’s office, and the other by an admissions director who was familiar with the Seattle area who was on a college campus tour I was giving, I have been asked if I had gone to Holy Names with very little information given about my background. To be able to be recognized as an alumnus gives me so much pride and joy to have had the opportunity to go to this school and puts a spark within me to continue to give back to the school in whatever way possible in the future.

I do not think I will ever be able to properly articulate what my high school and my high school experience means to me. I am forever grateful and indebted to the teachers and friends who shaped me during my high school experience. I have had multiple conversations with my friends from high school in which we have contemplated where we would be today if it had not been for the education we received. I know I most definitely would not be at the college where I am today, pursuing the degree that I am, and having the internship I am.

My time in high school helped me find my passions and encouraged me to pursue them. I cannot wait to see what other impacts this school will have on me in the years to come, and I sincerely hope that one day I will be able to return and become a part of its day-to-day community once more in some other capacity.

From a very grateful alum,

C.M.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

Popular Right Now

5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.
30500
views

If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Even After Family Weekend, I Haven't Gotten Homesick And I'm Not Ashamed Of It

It's really OK.

11
views

Now that we have successfully drifted into October, I am about a month and a half into my freshman year of college.


media0.giphy.com


As the leaves on the trees start to change colors and the skies start fading to grey, Family Weekend rolls around. As a preface, I used to live in Connecticut. I think it's safe to say I still #BleedBlue even after living in South Carolina for my high school career. Regardless, it's safe to say me attending the University of Connecticut is a little ways away from my parents and cats.

That being said, the last time I saw my mom and dad was move in day. Exactly six weeks without seeing my dad or giving my mom a "huggie". I have been away from home before, for example I went to Ireland and Scotland this summer for a week with a teacher from school and a few other kids that went to my high school.

I don't miss high school and I enjoy living in a dorm with my amazing roommate and hanging out with people pretty much everyday and just doing my own thing, but it's weird not coming home and seeing my parents every night.


I mean look at those twoElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


See, I can't describe this as home sickness, because I talk to my mom on a pretty consistent basis, she sends me pictures of my cats, and I just haven't had that cloud of sadness over my head because I miss home. Not to say I haven't been sad in college, stuff happens, but it hasn't been like what sooo many other people talk about it to be.


my four cats on my parent's bedElizabeth Dunn // Personal Photo


Even now, a few days after seeing my parents, I miss the people not the place. I'm not going to guilt trip myself over this either. I think it's healthier! It was super nice to hang out with my parents again. I got fed well and spent a night off campus for the first time since I got here. Another positive was not having to jump out of my bed the next morning or wear shower shoes while showering

I'm hoping while writing this, that the stereotypical home sickness doesn't catch up to me in the near future (preferably not at all).


media0.giphy.com


Even just six weeks in, I feel like I have grown as a person and changed. I will say it was amazing to see my parents, but I'm glad I'm away from home being able to blossom into an educated young woman.

Related Content

Facebook Comments