My personal journey through what life throws at me!


Just When I Thought No One Was Listening….

never underestimateLast week I had the privilege to participate in “Career Day” at a local high school. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity as I really enjoy my interactions with “college bound” students. I enjoy listening to them, hearing their stories and challenging them to think about things differently. I most enjoy being a witness to the light bulb getting turned on!

The day started with greetings from the principal and assistant principle. I was not very familiar with this particular high school so I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the high school and particularly the students that they serve. I was impressed by the presentation by the administration and now had high expectations for the students I was going to be coming into contact with that day.

I had three 30 minute sessions with 5-7 students each. Each session started off with me giving them a brief synopsis of the “journey” I took to get to my career and then I allowed them to ask whatever questions they had. I was an open book. I told them nothing was off limits – something that can be a little scary when you are dealing with high school students.

The questions I got were awesome! These kids did not disappoint me. The were on top of their game. I got questions about choosing a major, questions about being undecided on a career, questions about salary. NOT ONE ‘CRAZY’ QUESTION. I was very impressed that they all kept it professional and on topic.

At the end of my first group the student sitting next to me, Eduardo, stayed behind for a brief conversation. He started by thanking me and telling me that I really inspired him that afternoon. He went on to ask me if I would mind if he kept in touch with me. Would I mind? Are you kidding me? These are the kids we wish all kids would be like! He went on to ask me if I would be willing to mentor him. I of course said “ABSOLUTELY”! I was truly honored. I told him he had my contact info and all he had to do was email me. I overheard him say to another student who was coming for my second group “She is awesome – You are really going to enjoy hearing her speak”. And off he went.

The second group went in a completely different direction and the third group in an even different direction. Each group of students was awesome. All three groups exceeded what I thought to be pretty high expectations. I left that day on a “high”. Excited about the thought of what these students were going to contribute to the world.

Today I got an email from one of the students I met last week. Interestingly enough, this email was not from Eduardo, but from another student named Victoria. Here is what her email said:

“Hello Mrs.Sanders. My name is Victoria. You probably do not remember me. But you attended career day at my high school last week.  I am writing to you to thank you. You really impacted my life and inspired me to work harder in school in order to succeed in the future. Being the first one out of 5 siblings, and my parents to graduate high school, you gave me the extra push to focus on college more. This might be random, but sincerely, thank you so much. Have a nice day.”

Here was my response:

“Victoria! Of course I remember you! You were in my first group! Thank you so much for your note. I didn’t know that you were going to be the first in your family to graduate High School. That is quite an accomplishment! I know your parents must be very proud! I know you have what it takes to go on and be the first in your family to graduate college.
Now that I know that I have a proposal for you. Since you do not have any family members that have gone through the college process, and I know it can be a very daunting and scary process, I would like to offer to be there for you as an extra resource! I know you have your family, your teachers and your guidance counselor, but if you need anything (doesn’t necessarily have to be related to college), have any questions (about anything) or need some advice (about whatever), please feel free to reach out to me! I really do enjoy mentoring HS and College students.
Thanks so much for your note. It totally made my day! Sometimes when I do sessions like that I’m honestly not sure if anyone is really listening. Now I know you were!
Keep studying! You got this!
PS – Which colleges have you applied to? What are you thinking of majoring in?”

What Victoria doesn’t realize is the impact that she had on me by sending that simple note. It showed me that she listened. She absorbed what I said. She marinated in it. Something I said made her light bulb go on. For that I am thankful. I am thankful that I inspired her.

Somehow – by inspiring her – she has inspired me.

So now its my turn. Thank you Victoria!

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