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to a mentor

by zali wheeler 2 months ago in advice
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finding me

Written in 2018 shortly after graduating high school. I had no idea at the time, but I am now the positive, happy young female, that she could see all those years ago. I just had to find myself. Heres to finding ourselves many years later.

"Dear Dana,

I remember you wrote to me in an affirmation- “I can’t wait to tell people I once knew you…Thanks for trusting me this year”. This meant a lot to me and I feel its only fair I return the favour.

.... shortly after this you offered me a lollipop as a sign of peace, of which I rejected. I wasn’t going to be bribed into liking you and from then on I made it a task to work you out as I felt we had something in common.

In the junior years of high school you resent your teachers, they are the worst enemy, they don’t let you have fun, ‘its too hard’ and all you constantly do is write long one page essays, and pick your brain apart trying to work out what you will name the main character of your short story. Stupid stories. You resent the teachers for moving you away from your friends because you were talking or for giving you a detention for not having a hat. Now that I’m in my finishing time at high school I’ve realised that teachers have a huge impact on your life. Even one teacher can shape the person you have become and will become. We complain about the curriculum and how we are taught silly stuff that we will never use in everyday life. We aren’t taught how to pay bills or vote but unknowingly, we are taught how to become a better person, this happens though people like you.

....the reason is because I know from first hand experience that there only needs to be one person, one teacher, that believes in you, that sees you, that gets to know you, to have a huge impact in shaping the person you have become.

Theres a line between being opinionated and rude. Harshly, I apologise contently. On another note, possibly unbeknown to you is the criticism and flack you cop (once again, I apologise). I believe the apparent reasoning behind this your ability to speak your mind, to me, an integrate and honest trait, but to others, a feasible insult. I also believe this proves your dedication and heart for others. Seemingly ironic- “My brain has no heart, my heart has no brain. Thats why when I speak my mind I seem heartless and when I do whats in my heart I seem thoughtless”. Whats the point in living life as a guessing game- on hints and the unknown? Life already is an experiment and an unknown journey. Why not eliminate some possibilities, by speaking your mind, in order to understand the truth. Its better to cross the line and suffer the consequences than to just stare at the line for the rest of your life.

Sherlock Holmes once said “When you have eliminated the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. What better way to eliminate the impossible than to speak your mind.

So, that was me, speaking my mind, in a very backwards way, in order to prove what I believe is your compassion and empathy. Words are weighty and have a potential impact. I want to be part of that impact, by speaking my mind in my own words. This is probably how you made your first impression on me and why I thought the way I did after that initial encounter, although I knew there was more to it. Persistence once again paid off. Thankyou for allowing me to understand the importance of speaking ones own mind.

“You are smart, strong and completely capable… you have amazing leadership qualities… you are going to go far”. These are all things you hear from your parents, they say it all the time, you know they mean it, but you think they just say it because they have to, so that you know they will always have your back, because they love you unconditionally. But hearing these words from another person, hearing them from you, made it much more believable and real.

To tell you the truth initially I wasn’t happy about the fact that you read me this well after not knowing me my whole life, but I thank you for doing so as it made me realise my potential and worth, it made me realise the time and attention you put into your students, into your job and your commitment to helping people reach their full potential. You once told me to be more positive, to not be so negative and to believe. You read me, you saw my potential, you fought for me to make a change. I hope now that I have become a part of that positive person that you had hoped.

While here, I didn’t get the opportunity to help and lead people the way I wished, I suppose it was that negativity in me that saw all the injustices and flaws that needed fighting for and that I wished I could change, to help people like me, people that will have these unfairnesses thrown at them during their time there. Looking back now, I don’t hold regret over the fact that I couldn’t help more because you’ve made such an impact on me even in the past year or so, I know you will make this impact on other people, helping them as well.

Finally, the thing I realised we had in common was persistence. You persisted with me in the past two years and I see you do it all the time with other students, because you take the time to know them. Thank you, for everything you have done to help me, intentionally or unintentionally. I can’t wait to tell people I once knew you.

Your favourite student"

advice

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zali wheeler

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