Thank You To Every Teacher Who Shaped Me Into The Person I Am Today

Thank You To Every Teacher Who Shaped Me Into The Person I Am Today

Past and present, your effort does not go unnoticed.
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School is no joke. Whether it's elementary, high school, or college, almost every move we make paves the way for our future selves and the opportunities we'll have. As a college student, I come closer to the realization of this fact more and more every day. I look back and think about the major and minor things that I did, words that people have said, lessons I've learned and trials I've gone through that have literally shaped me into the human being that I am today. With those thoughts, I can't help but think of those who harbored my growth. Those who taught me more and more about the world and myself every day so I could eventually become the grateful and tenacious young adult I am today. Dear teachers, you've done more for me than I ever could fathom.

I remember being in high school classes, when seemingly everyone vied for attention by being the loudest or funniest person in the room, almost like we never got enough attention at home. We always seemed to forget that our enjoyment was at the expense of those who were willing and ready to teach us. We acted like fools on a daily basis (I refuse to believe you if you say you never acted out in class). But no matter what, the teachers who instilled knowledge into the brains of my classmates and myself never failed to show up every day with seemingly endless life lessons that I reflect on to this day.

It's amazing how essential the small moments are. Imagine being back in eleventh grade. Only sixteen, you're seemingly invincible but don't realize all the untapped potential you have at your feet. A teacher approaches you after class, explains to you that they want you to apply to this program for after-school internships, and helps you realize that there are actually other people out there who believe in you. This was my story, and literally five words from my junior year English teacher changed my life.

Sitting in the back of class one day I never had any clue that I, of all people, was being paid attention to by any teachers I currently had. My English teacher approached me one day and told me about one of the after-school programs she had previously mentioned to the entire class. She asked if I applied, I told her no, and she then said: "When I mentioned this program to the class, I had you in mind." Now I know that doesn't seem so major, but understand to a young adult who barely believes in himself, it's a game changer.

Fast forward a bit, I applied to the internship program, was accepted, and stayed with the beloved arts institution known as the Brooklyn Academy of Music for nearly three years. I felt powerful, I felt loved, I felt fully capable and ready to challenge the world as a young minority excited to show the world what he was made of. All of this because my teacher basically said she believed in me.

That was once, in comparison to the many experiences I've had with teachers that have helped me realize I was more than I thought I was. Teachers, please realize that your words can change a student's life, even when everything seems to be headed downhill. I know for a fact that if my teacher didn't approach me with those few words, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today. For every life lesson that my music teacher taught me that my father didn't. Every conversation about society that my class had with our Spanish teacher. Every opportunity my drama teacher fought to provide me with. Every kind word of belief from my English teachers; every math teacher that told me to never give up; every science teacher that let me explore my imagination; and every helping hand from guidance counselors that pointed me in every which way to apply to any college I could.

This is only my story, but this is for anyone who feels they can relate. We may look at them like they're major hard-asses sometimes, but usually, every action your teacher takes to provide you with an education is one with good reason. Instead of taking them for granted, try to understand why they teach the lessons they teach, and you may be able to go much further than you ever thought you could. Any lesson, any conversation, any word, may change your perspective on what you thought you could do in this world. Sometimes, it doesn't take much to unlock the person you knew you could always be. When you receive recognition from those who are set to teach you, it turns you into a person with seemingly endless possibilities.

For every teacher that has taken time out of their lives to instill in me lessons I'll never forget, I thank you. I thank you because without you I would not be where I am today. I would not be as confident, as strong, nor as happy, if it weren't for the experiences and words I've shared with you all. If you ever believe what you're doing isn't appreciated, take these words and use them. I say to you, that I, along with many students across the world, appreciate you for everything you've done. You help open the minds and accelerate the success of youth all over the world so that one day, they can be the leaders they dream of being.

For all of my teachers past and present, this student thanks you.

Cover Image Credit: Kory Longsworth

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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So What's Next

You're not the only one with absolutely no post-graduation plans, and that's okay.

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This is something that almost every college student struggles with because it is not a matter we want to speak up about. It's frustrating, discouraging, and also embarrassing. There is an overwhelming amount of pressure at an early age to choose your designated career path for life. Maybe it's just me, but my 17/18-year-old self had many different wants and expectations than my 21, almost graduated self. It's time we stop allowing ourselves to drown in the what if's and how come's and we start taking back the control we once had over our futures.

It seems as if throughout our college years we lost that "control". We were once encouraged to chase our dreams and that we can be whatever it is we want to be. However, I didn't realize there was always a catch to those statements. That catch being, go ahead and chase your dreams; however, if you choose to change your mind ever, then the story changes.

We spend our college years so focused in on one thing that we begin to lose track of what really matters. We work so hard to stay focused, stay on task, complete our requirements for our major, and stick to our pre-drawn path that leads us to our "dream" job. Flexibility is not encouraged. Exploring other options is not encouraged. The focus all falls to what outcome will provide you with the most success post-graduation, but whatever happened to happiness.

Dreams changes, career goals change, your major changes, etc. Change is all around us in college, but no one seems to talk about it. We would rather choose to put up a front instead of having those real conversations. Nobody wants to admit that deep down they know these choices are not for them. Nobody wants to admit that their original plan failed them. Nobody wants to admit that after graduation day we have no clue what is coming next.

I'm included in this subset of students. I'm not sure what comes next for me. My plans have changed tremendously. The hardest part of that change wasn't coming to terms with it myself, but I struggled with feeling as if I couldn't share what I was going through. College, especially senior year is so incredibly stressful for us young adults. Life plans are included in this stress. Feeling like I couldn't share these struggles and confusions because it was against society's "norm".

What is normal though? Is knowing and sticking true to what you want normal? Is changing your mind as you discover more about yourself normal? Isn't it all normal? Yes, it is. It is important to know you are not alone pondering the idea of what comes next. While it may seem that all of your friends have it figured and you're the only one entering graduation day with a lingering question mark hovering over you. You are not alone.

College is stressful enough. The best thing you can do is be true to yourself. There is no need to have a "put together" persona 24/7 because that's not reality. We college students know this, so why don't we embrace it? Why is there such an emphasis on "fake it till you make it"? Society would rather us put on a facade for our entire adult life instead of sharing our struggles and coming together.

As graduation day approaches, it is okay to not have your next move figured out. It is okay to still be figuring it all out. Because believe me, you're not the only one.

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