Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why I Harbor Hope

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
~Dale Carnegie

Congratulations to Marianne, the winner of yesterday’s drawing for an Amazon gift certificate!

And thank to everyone who stopped by this blog and/or the one over at TWRP (if you didn’t read that one, you can still swing by there when you get a chance).

Today, I wanted to share something that reminds me why I teach, why I write happy endings, and why there is still great hope for people in the world despite the sadness of the last few days.

I keep in touch with many of my former students, and one young woman who’s now a senior in college stopped by to visit about a month ago with the exciting news that she had made her decision about graduate school. She wants to pursue Higher Education Administration, and she plans on going to Virginia Tech.

Yes, Virginia Tech.

So, after the news broke earlier this week, I dropped her an email:

Are you OK?? Virginia Tech is where you'd decided to go to graduate school, right? Imagine you're pretty shell-shocked with the news right now. Hope you're doing all right.

Her response?

I'm okay. But it's really scary to hear about it. And there is nothing I can really do at this time about it. It's a time of mourning for the campus, and it will affect the lives of all of us in the years to come. It will be very prevalent in my time there because I will be there in a year for the anniversary of it.

What this event really makes me do is want to make sure it doesn't happen somewhere else. I'm going to Tech for a reason. And I'm going to get a degree in the field of Higher Education. Part of my job in the future is to make sure this doesn't happen again. It's a tragedy that's also a wake up call to administrators and personnel. The real tragedy will be if this is allowed to happen again. We can't change what happened, but through education we can try to ensure it doesn't happen again.

As scary as it is, it could really happen anywhere. I'm just blessed that I wasn't there when it did. And from my experiences at the campus, I would have never imagined it to happen there. It's such a warm and welcoming community that this event is very atypical. And even in this time of horror, I still feel Tech is where I'm supposed to be. I think this event may play a huge role in my education and possibly shape my career.

Some people say the answers are metal detectors and stricter gun laws, but I don't think that's it. People react this way because of how they are treated. And they also show warning signs before they actually commit the act. The friends or co-workers of these people need to be given the confidence to stand up and talk to law enforcement or talk to the person and say "this is wrong." Students need to be educated on the warning signs and given mentors or adults that they can turn to when things seem amiss. The answer is education. And that is my future.

Thank you for your concern. I really appreciate it. But I am continuing my apartment search and still planning to attend there. I am going to email one of the professors in my program and see if there is anything in our program about violence on a collegiate level. And if there is nothing about it, then I want to know how can we integrate it into the curriculum.

Talk to you soon…

God bless the idealistic 21-year olds in the world who can remind us of the power of believing in the future, hmm?

OK, I’m off to write! Making good progress on One Night in Memphis, thankfully. And I just heard from my Wild Rose Press editor that she'll be starting the edits on Lost in Paradise next week. Exciting!

How has your week been, anyway?


Marianne Arkins said...

Yay me! Maybe I should go get that Powerball ticket...

What an amazing email from your student -- if the world was full of more folks like that, we wouldn't have any worries.

Mom said...

That is a powerful email from your student.
Did you possibly motivate her to go into the educational field?

hellojed said...

Good luck to your ex-student. Unfortunately it does sound like people did care about the shooter and repeatedly tried to find help for him. The fact is you can try to help and engage with someone as much as you can, but in the end they need to want help. It's hard to second guess how someone is going to act. But your ex-student sounds like she wants to try to help - and I'm sure she will succeed with many.

Judy said...

Congratulations to M and thanks for sharing the email from your student. How powerful it was. You can really be proud of her.