Now, last year was an immensely challenging year for me, in many ways. Friends graduated and left, family members passed away, teaching practicum began, and I felt like I was in a constant battle to stay afloat. Sometime towards the end of the year when I was supposed to be completing my term paper, I sank into a bottomless pit of despair. I doubted my writing skills, I withdrew from friends and family, and I had suicidal thoughts.
Thankfully, my term paper supervisor encouraged me to keep on writing and to submit my mess of a term paper. At the very least, I had completed it in time, and received a ‘B’ for my dismal effort. I returned to my university again last Monday, and I was greeted by familiar faces who comforted me, and new staff who made my day. This is a short note of appreciation for the everyday heroes/sheroes in UNISEL.
When I arrived on Monday, I went to the FESS admin office where I submitted my application for a letter of confirmation stating that I have completed my studies. The new office staff who took in my form was courteous and diligent. Within two hours after I submitted the form, she called me to say that the letter had been completed and signed by the Dean. Her efficiency made me feel huge relief and gratitude.
Next, I went to the Finance department at the Chancellery. Again, I was attended to by a new staff. This young man had a pleasing, friendly and sincere tone to his voice as he assured me my transcript application would be processed swiftly and I would not need to go from department to department requesting signatures. It made me feel hopeful that the management in UNISEL is indeed slowly changing for the better.
As I walked to the building where I usually had my classes, I was met by a beautiful, warm lady whose face used to greet me every morning at 7.30 a.m before classes began. She would diligently sweep the classroom and provide an ever comforting smile to me when I was alone. She was chatting with a student when I greeted her. She immediately took hold of my hands and asked me how I was. She told me I was all skin and bones, and chided me to eat more, in her loving, motherly manner. I shall miss her very much.
Later in the day, I met two of my lecturers; my term paper supervisor and the kindly lecturer whom I mentioned in the previous post. My term paper supervisor patiently listened to my grumblings as I unloaded my frustrations over being at home with overprotective parents for a long few months. She listened and showed empathy, never judging me at all. I thank her for her instinctive mutual understanding and compassion. She told me to ask another older lecturer to write me a referral letter. Being shy and anxious, I was apprehensive. I went to this lecturer’s room and meekly knocked on her door. As no one replied, I rushed to walk away feeling quite unsure of myself. As I walked away, I heard someone calling me back. It was my kindly old lecturer. She invited me in, asked me to provide her details to include in my referral letter, and took an hour or more explaining to me the necessary things I should have for an interview. She even printed out information of prospective employees and encouraged me to apply for those jobs. Had she not taken the time from her busy schedule to explain matters and to encourage me, I doubt I would even have written this post today, or applied for more jobs.
The little things make a world of difference. My lecturer’s prerogative and maternal instinct comforted me. Her actions seemed to say; “I hear you. I understand. I know you’ve had a tough time and I am here for you.” Educators like her ensure that the lonely ones, the lost and troubled ones, will never slip through the cracks and be forgotten. My world seemed a little bit more hopeful, a little less lonely that day.
I have many more everyday heroes whom I have yet to thank. Please do know that your actions and words are appreciated, deeply. You never know when the opportunity to be someone’s net, to catch him/her from falling, will present itself. I hope that all of us are given the chance to build a safe, caring network for each other, and for the community at large.
Note: This post is without doubt, in need of editing. It is written in an unedited style to give it a personal, raw touch. The author might edit it when she is in a more suitable state of mind. Till then, this is how it shall be.