This is the final post in our Summer Fellow's Final Reflection series. Today we hear from Thu as she reflects on her year at Kensington Health Sciences. Thu will be staying on as Site Director at that school this year.
When I commenced my Fellowship year at 12Plus, I was overwhelmingly excited to gain rewarding experiences from building meaningful relationships with my students. Undoubtedly, not a day passed by that I did not hear beautiful, inspiring comments from students about their goals and dreams and their valid thoughts and concerns that ignited my drive to empower and support them.
Each day, students would express their goals for their senior year and postsecondary future. It was especially meaningful to learn about why these goals were important to them.
“Miss, I want to be a businessman.”
“Why do you want to be a businessman?” I asked my student.
“My grandma works too hard in her restaurant. I help her and all but… I want to become a successful businessman and help her in the future so she can stop working.”
“Miss, I don’t want to miss out on any opportunities.”
“Miss, I want to go to college just like you did.”
“Miss, I want to prove to everyone that I can do big things.”
“Miss, I want to go to college.”
“Miss, I want to apply to as many scholarships as possible, as long as there are no essays.”
“Miss, I found a school that I’m really interested in applying to! Can you help me tomorrow?”
“Miss, I’m going to apply to be a 12+ Fellow like you and Miss Selena when I graduate college. Your job is really easy.”
“Miss, when I need help with my homework, can I come to the PLUS Center?”
“Miss, I’m going to come tomorrow, and I’m going to apply to two more colleges.”
“Miss, I’m still wearing this dog tag from Job Corps because it reminds me to always work hard and be someone.”
From building individualized relationships with students, I was not only able to offer them full support and advisement, but I was also gifted with a sense of belonging at KHSA. This sense of belonging was conveyed through the students’ valid and silly thoughts.
“Miss, you’re my outlet.”
“Miss, stop laughing.”
“Miss, you’re crazy.”
“Miss, stop running. You’re going to trip again.”
“Miss, you’re too young to have a job.”
“Miss, where is my Buenos Dias?”
“Miss, you’re old. Don’t put your birthdate on the poster because everyone will find out your age.”
Relationship building is the anchor of 12Plus, and it is one of the defining aspects that set us apart. I could not have imagined that building relationships would entail so much love, grace, and compassion. I have been honored to hear our students’ stories, witness an overwhelming amount of success, and learn and grow from our students.