My favorite moment working in Broad Ripple was working with one of the students I had brought into my group because she was friends with another student I work with on a regular basis. At first she was shy and even seemed a little sad. She told me that she was having troubles because she liked a boy who hadn’t been treating her very well. He had a girlfriend, and she was jealous. As the weeks went by, this seemed to keep happening. She would be happy one time because she was talking to this boy again. The next time I would see her though, she realized that what she was doing wasn’t making her happy. I kept talking to her though. I got the whole story from her perspective, and she was very honest. She told me what she thought she had done wrong and what she thought were his wrongdoings. What it came down to, though, was that she didn’t think she was worth more than how she was being treated. I told her that she didn’t deserve to feel bad about herself. However, I told her she wasn’t doing right by the girlfriend either. I think at first she didn’t take me seriously, but the next time she came in and talked to me, she told me she wasn’t talking to that boy anymore. She said she needed some time to figure out her own things and be her own person.
I think sometimes we discredit people because of their age. We say their feelings aren’t as legitimate because they don’t have the years of experience older people do. I think that’s wrong though. If we tell these kids that their feelings aren’t real, I think it will stunt how they express those feelings later on. If we tell them they can’t feel those feelings now, when they are young, when do they become old enough that they can feel them?
Grace Dillow is a senior English major.