An Open Letter to My High School Guidance Counselor
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An Open Letter to My High School Guidance Counselor

To someone who was so much more than the person who chose my schedule.

An Open Letter to My High School Guidance Counselor
Casey Townsend

To the guidance counselor that changed my life,

Walking through the halls aimlessly as a freshman, I was scared. I was nervous, and I was wondering what the hell I was doing there. My mind was racing, along with my heart- why did I need to leave middle school to come to such a scary place? I was comfortable in middle school. I was the oldest, I knew the lay of the land, and I knew then, in this moment, that I simply was not cut out for high school. It was only the beginning, and I was already seriously contemplating dropping out to work at McDonald's for the rest of my life, and I couldn't help but dread the long four years before me. That was all until I met my guidance counselor. It hadn't made sense to me then, but I was so lost until this person walked into my life. I didn't know the extent of his impact when he entered my life, but it would soon grow to be one of the most significant influences someone has ever had on my life.

For as long as I could remember, it had been ingrained in my mind that people who utilized their guidance counselor was for them to talk about their problems. I didn't have problems, so why would I ever need to meet them? I don't need them. This was all until I was pulled out of class to go discuss my personality. Why the heck did we need to discuss my personality? Little did I know then, but my personality was going to lead me to finding the college I would eventually end up attending, and it would bring to reach the conclusion about what I would like to be doing for the rest of my life.

So there I sat, with a clouded perspective, a little nervous, and everything was just a little confusing, just as everyday of freshman year was. I could not help but wonder relentlessly why I was in this office, what did I do wrong, and why did he need to talk to me?

As soon as the words, "So, what do you want to do for the rest of your life?" rolled off the tip of his tongue, I gulped, gripped my hands so tightly together and I smiled at him nervously. I thought, what the hell? I have an A in Basic Foods, but I don't think culinary is in my future. I looked at him with a face looking for him to react with a little remorse. He didn't let the silence linger too long between us, I think he could tell my reaction to nervousness was to slowly fill my eyes with tears. He smiled so genuinely back at me, and said, "Don't worry, you don't have to know that now!" And soon, a sigh of relief fell over me like a warm blanket, and I finally felt comfort come over me for the first time during the entire experience.

"I don't know, I want to make money," was the only thought that circulated through my mind to answer his question. He laughed so hard at this one and he continued to ask me questions. I felt a little lost, extremely confused, and definitely hesitant about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but my guidance counselor made it a pill I could easily swallow. He was ready to help me figure it all out. He was ready to help me dig deep into my heart to figure out what I wanted, and it was the first time in a really long time that I felt that the control was finally mine.

He helped me find me. Over many conversations about my life plans, dreams, and my goals. He listened, he encouraged, and he believed in me. While struggling to get the grades I wanted, and needed to get, he knew I was barely staying above water. It was he, that would seek solutions to put my academic troubles at ease, and it was he who found that one fix. All it took was his drive to help me succeed. All it took was his caring personality. In a world full of teachers, administrators, and professors- most underpaid, under-appreciated, and robbed of the credit they truly deserve; he kept his work ethic, his motivation, and his relentlessly caring heart.

I learned what it meant to have confidence again. During a time, my friends were getting letters back from all of the colleges they applied for. I remember running to my mailbox and waiting for mine. This was something my sophomore year self would have never fathomed doing based off of my report card. It was my guidance counselor who found my learning disability. It was he who helped me cope. He taught me that although it was a disability, that I could still do what everyone else was doing. He encouraged me to join clubs, balance a job, and still excel in school. These were all things I didn't believe were possible, but from the sidelines, he always there cheering me on. He was the person I ran to with every college acceptance letter, and the one who told me, I knew you could do it. He believed in me, and on the days I felt like falling apart, he was one of the few people in school that I felt I could run to.

He deserves credit for being a large part of who I am today. I met him, a once shy, sometimes timid young woman. I was unsure of if I was good enough, smart enough, or even cut out to go anywhere more, or farther than our local community college. But with the help from him, I've been forever changed. After all was said and done, grades were in, yearbooks were signed, and caps and gowns were worn, I was feeling lucky. I felt blessed on my graduation day- so entirely blessed for being able to find him in a sea of administrators- to smile at him, with tears in my eyes, and know that his smile was letting me know just how proud he was of me. I am now at a college he helped me find, pursuing a major I didn't know existed, and living the life I never knew I always wanted. It was thanks to him.

So, the next time, you scuff at the sight of a pass to see your guidance counselor, remember what mine did for me. Remember that they can change your life for the better, and remember to believe in them as they will believe in you.


The student you believed in

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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