An Open Letter to All My Previous Teachers

An Open Letter to All My Previous Teachers

Thank you all so much.
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As a new freshman in college, I’m going to go through many professors in the next four years of my life. Making connections with them and determining who will be the ones who help me through the next four years, and who will just be another professor who teaches me for a quarter (my school runs on quarters, not semesters), will be difficult- but I’ve already found a few teachers whom I really want to keep in touch with.

But, before I even got here, I realized the ones who got me to where I am- my high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers. They were the ones who set up my success and had to teach me based on how well the previous teacher taught and hope that all the students did well in the previous year- especially in math. I was lucky that I got teachers who motivated me and always helped me without a second thought. But, I also had the teachers who made it difficult to learn and killed my motivation to try and do well in it, even when I wasn’t that great at the subject- like math (even though I was a grade ahead) and physics.

During my senior year of high school, towards the end of the year, I wanted to write a thank you letter to each of the teachers I had during my high school career. I only had 2 teachers who weren’t there anymore, and had a few teachers I had multiple years (i.e. foreign language, choir, P.E.). So, it made it a huge task, but something I felt like I should do. But, I never did. Now I have my chance.

To all my elementary school teachers: You were the ones who set me up for success originally. Without such great elementary school teachers, I couldn’t do even the simplest of things- reading, writing, math. Not only that, but you also in a way have to act as parents. You teach us social skills, make sure we’re taken care of when we get hurt, teach us discipline, and make sure we learn to be overall good people. You quickly learn where our strengths and weaknesses academically are and help us do better where we’re weak, make sure we get the help we need to keep up with the material; but also motivate and encourage us in our best subjects. I still keep in contact with many of my old elementary teachers, but many of them are retired now. Either way, without having them, I wouldn’t have known the basics and could never have moved on to any sort of higher education.

To all my middle school teachers: You were the ones who took my basics and expanded them and started to shape them. You were with us while we were going through puberty and we were trying to figure ourselves out, and probably didn’t care too much about what was going on in class. But, still you stuck with us and tried to help many of us. Middle school kids are hard to deal with. Our personalities start to develop, cliques form, friends are lost and made. It’s very much the years where we start thinking of what others think of us, and start worrying about relationships. You guys have to compete with us to make sure we get an education, rather than focusing on ourselves. It’s not easy. But, at the same time, we do find teachers and classes that we fall in love with. Classes we’re willing to put the time and effort into doing well in and pay attention in because we want to or simply because we like it. This is when we start realizing what subjects we like and what we hate.

I know for me, I absolutely loved my choir and hand bells classes. Without those class and having an amazing teacher- who was like a mom to me- I know I wouldn’t have stayed sane during middle and high school. She encouraged my love for music and opened me to whole new one as well. I also had an amazing algebra teacher who always wanted to make sure we did well in his class. But, he taught it in such a motivating way. He encouraged us to always offer answers to solutions, because being wrong isn’t a bad thing, and to not be scared if you offer up an answer that no one else has- because it might be right. He helped during tests by helping us work through problems we didn’t understand, so we could get the best grade possible. I still remember to this day a quote he said when I told him thank you for offering tutoring (as I was struggling in his class), and he said, “Well, the grade you get on the report card doesn’t matter too much. I think people focus on that too much and they don’t really learn the material the way they should. I’d rather you get a C in my class, but be able to say that understand how to do everything, than get an A but have no idea what we’re doing.” I’m still so thankful to have had him as a teacher, whether he remembers me or not.

To all my high school teachers: Thank you for preparing me for college. You also have a hard job as well. It’s difficult to put up with high school teenagers. We’re really in a state of mind of usually thinking of ourselves, relationships, friendships, family problems, drama, and what others think of us. I’m happy to say that I worked hard in high school and connected with many of my teachers. But, high school teachers put up with a lot, and have to deal with students who truly don’t care about being there or how well they do, but also have to deal with students who may be smart but don’t try, or students who don’t do well but want try so hard to get good grades. I managed seven classes, and eight my senior year. I was a grade ahead math and excelled in English.

This didn’t mean I struggled though. I hated math, and had a teacher who killed my motivation to do well in the class and didn’t help me- the student teacher helped me more than she ever did. I hated physics and the teacher didn’t ever give much help when I asked questions- though I was lucky and was one of the only ones who excelled in that class (but I usually had no idea what was going on). But, I was lucky to have gotten amazing English teachers who was open to not only teaching, but was there to talk to us about personal problems. My AP Lang/Comp teacher opened me to learning everything, and really learning about what’s going on in the world, expanding my mind, knowledge, and opinions, but also learning how to give a proper argument. I hated writing so many essays, but I can truly say I enjoyed his class, and try to really learn about a subject before forming an opinion.

I got to learn American Sign Language because my school was lucky enough to have a teacher who was an interpreter for many years and also got a teaching degree. She opened me to a whole new world, culture, and way of looking at the Deaf community. I’m friends with a few deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and I’ve been able to teach a few of my friends some signs. It’s even come in handy with working with children, and gives me an ability to talk to other people, especially special needs children who may not be deaf, but use ASL, to communicate with them and know what they want when my other coworkers may not.

I felt so incredibly prepared for college because of them. Even if I sometimes went against what they suggested, it’s because I had a structured plan put out that made sense and worked in my favor. I got lucky to have high school teachers who motivated me and helped me when needed- especially three out of my four math teachers who worked hard to make sure all their students understood what was being taught and helped them to do well in the class. I was lucky to have middle school teachers who opened my eyes to subjects I previously hated and opened my mind to new ones. I was lucky to have elementary teachers who set me up for the rest of my life and wanted to see me succeed. All school teachers are important, no matter what grade they teach. I’m happy that I’m still in contact with a few of my teachers, especially one from high school who I had all four years. Her class helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, she was there for me personally, and is like my mom (I nicknamed her my school mom). I can’t wait to see what new connections I make and see how my new professors motivate me to grow and in learn in my classes and faith; but to all my previous teachers that I had or didn’t have but got to know- thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today. Everything that I’m doing in school and who I am is because of you guys, and I think that’s pretty cool. I hope you knew all this already. But, if not, thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Emma McGee

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The One Thing Everyone Should Do Before They Graduate

Why I wish everyone could have shared in my end of school adventure.

Lswitka
Lswitka
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The end of freshman year was filled with the abundant stress of final exams, teary-eyed goodbyes, and last looks at my dorm room on South Campus. The academic year was overwhelmingly busy, and I tried my best to soak in every single moment as a first-year college student. But as I'm sure many of you can understand, it's not always possible to make time for the adventures we so desperately desire. I found myself saying "I want to do that!" all year long, and here it was the last week of the year and my bucket list had barely been touched. All those Philadelphia excursions, dreamy coffee shop dates, and campus explorations that I looked forward to never ended up panning out…

… until last Thursday night.

With about half the freshman class moved out of South Campus, everything felt a little strange. There was barely a dinner rush at all in Donahue Dining Hall, and my room looked so empty it almost made me sad. Naturally, I called up a couple of friends. Within minutes, we met in the lounge, and we were off for our adventure.

Every single day on the way to labs in Mendel Hall, I walked past the beloved Falvey Fountain. It had become such a consistent part of my routine that walking past it felt like it was a necessary daily occurrence. But this time, we didn't walk past. In fact, we stopped dead in our tracks and admired its color changing beauty for a brief moment.

And then we dove in!

Yes, we jumped right into the fountain. First the daring adventurer of the group, then his sidekick, then the skeptic, and finally myself. This was definitely not allowed, but no one was around, and more importantly, no one cared. Being knee deep was freezing, but the adrenaline rush was too much to suppress. So we submerged further, dunking each other and splashing the icy water literally everywhere. My wet hair made way for the most epic hair flip of all time, and we all laughed joyously.

All the stress of looming final grades and the completion of projects, the bittersweet goodbyes to our newfound families, and the hassles of packing up for the year were washed away in that fountain, drowned in the euphoria of the moment. We were officially baptized in summer as it dubbed us the kings and queens of adventure.

Afterward, we wrung out our soaking clothes and snapped a quick pic of our drenched selves. Trying to escape the scene hastily, I dropped my bag of M&M;'s. They spilled everywhere, leaving streams of melty chocolate and food coloring running through the aftermath of our fountain dive. The scene looked like a bit of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory had exploded from the fountain and into the night.

I am far from kidding when I say that adventure is a must for everyone, at any stage of life. Whether it's fountain diving at Nova, or sky diving in New Mexico, something about us as human beings needs the unusual, exciting, and even hazardous experiences. This one was particularly cleansing and absolutely unforgettable.

So I implore you: go forth this summer and be adventurous! Explore hidden places, try new eats, shuffle a stranger's playlist, introduce yourself to someone on a whim, or just get in the car and drive with no destination in mind. This summer is for the bold; this summer's for you.

Happy adventuring!

Lswitka
Lswitka

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