The Thank You Letters I Never Wrote

The Thank You Letters I Never Wrote

I have had so many amazing teachers, but never got to adequately thank them for all that they did.

Throughout school, I have had several amazing teachers who helped shape who I am today. I never got a chance to fully thank them for how much they influenced me, until now.

Dear 7th Grade History Teacher,

Thank you for making us take those awful essay tests that I thought were useless and unnecessary. It turns out you were right. I took tests in high school with the exact same layout and having prior experience definitely helped. But, you could have been a little more lenient about letting me wear my flower-print clogs. Yes, they broke dress code because they “showed my heel”; but I loved those things.

Dear 8th grade history teacher,

Thank you. Thank you for letting my friends and I eat lunch in your room rather than the cafeteria so we could eat without being scared of the others around us. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is okay to smile and laugh and show emotions in school. Before 8th grade, I connected getting in trouble with showing emotions because the kids who talked loudly or played in school were the ones who got detention. Terrified by the thought of getting in trouble or bringing any attention to myself, I decided the safest way to get through middle school was to be inexpressive and detached from social factors. You were the one to help me begin to realize that I could let down my wall in school and be myself.

I did not realize it till recently, but you were one of my most influential teachers and I never thanked you for that.

Dear 12th grade English teacher,

Thank you for showing me that I can enjoy literature and writing essays. Thank you for helping me become a stronger writer and turn in a paper confidently for once. Thank you for not letting me think of myself as less than I am. Thank you for expecting a lot from me because it just pushed me to work harder and put every ounce of effort I had into my work. Thank you for being the first English teacher to make me feel successful and show me that I can, in fact, enjoy non-STEM topics.

Dear High School Advisor,

Thank you for being an amazing mentor. I know the whole advising group looked up to you. Thank you for providing a space where we could decompress and relax if we were having a hard day. Finally, thank you for always having amazing advice when I got stuck or needed help balancing my schedule between school and dance.

Dear 10th grade math teacher,

Honestly, thank you for everything you did. Thanks for putting up with every single one of my questions I came and asked during lunch. Thank you for helping instill confidence in me with my work. I always enjoyed math, but never seemed to do well; until your class. Thank you for noticing and being comfortable with the fact that I don’t speak up much in class because of my anxiety. Rather than counting me off for not participating, you acknowledged that speaking up was just a lot harder for me.

Sincerely, Sarah Grace

Although I have written only five notes, so many other teachers have made substantial impacts on my life and helped me grow confident in myself and my academic abilities.

It's sometimes hard to reflect back on people who were in your life years ago when you are thinking about your current homework or plans for this weekend; however, when you take the time to really think about all these people, you begin to realize just how large of an impact they made on who you are today.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.

To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

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You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

I am finishing the last week of my bachelor's degree and I couldn't be more proud of myself.


I am now in the last week of my bachelor's degree. It feels surreal saying that. For four years I have been doing school full time. It has been a normal part of my life, so it's crazy to say my degree is coming to an end. On the one hand, I am so excited to graduate and have a break; finally; it has been almost nonstop school these four years with the longest break being two weeks. I look forward to having nothing to do, no assignments, or deadlines, or grades for a few months.

I'm also proud of myself for accomplishing something I initially never dreamed I would. After high school I wasn't sure about getting a degree and if I did what I would get that degree in. I also doubted my ability as a writer. My first semester in college I didn't know how to cite sources. I wasn't even sure how to go about dividing paragraphs or how to properly use commas. I had never written fiction or poetry and didn't think I ever could since it didn't seem like something that came naturally.

Well, I can confidently say now that I did all those things and more. I learned how to cite sources in multiple methods, and now it's like second nature. When starting my degree, I only wrote nonfiction, but I decided to challenge myself, to try fiction just to see if I could do it. I ended up doing a second concentration in fiction and writing 50 pages of a novel and a complete short story. Then I did a poetry class and wrote eight poems. Something I was convinced I could never do. But I did it; I did all of it and more.

Even more than the degree, the title of having a bachelor's, I'm just so happy to have challenged myself and did things I never thought I could. College is about seeing how strong we really are and all that we can accomplish. Going forward, I am confident in myself as a writer and confident to keep challenging myself and doing what I didn't think I could.

My learning does not end here. It's just the beginning. Better equipped now, I feel like I can learn and do anything I set my mind to, and this brings me back to the words my violin teacher gave me while I was still in high school. I had been committed to practicing violin every day, and she said, "Corrinne, you can do anything you set your mind to." And I have never forgotten those words. They still repeat in mind every time I challenge myself, cheering me on. And now, more than ever, I know those words are true. I can do anything I set my mind to and so can you. So, in this season of graduations and new life may you challenge yourself, believe in yourself, and do what you never knew you could. I promise you won't regret it. Good luck and congratulations!

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