I went to school in a 4-star corporation. We always had the newest technology when it came out (i.e. Elmo projectors, Smart Boards, class set of iPads, 1:1 tablets all through high school). When I was in high school, the building was only six years old. Everything about my schooling was high quality. I never had to experience overcrowded classes, dilapidated buildings, make shift classrooms, or dead mice in my school. I never realized how lucky I was to have a schooling experience like this. Reading the stories and statistics in For White Folks… and The Shame of the Nation and watching the documentary about creating a new city in Baton Rouge got me worked up. Over the course of this semester, I have become more informed about a topic that I have found a passion for, and I am very excited that this class has led me to consider education as a major. This course has made me realize what I really like and what I really care about. I’d been so caught up in choosing a major that would land me a successful, high-paying career that I forgot to think about choosing a major than would land me an enriching career.
At the beginning of the semester, I hoped to be a good friend and mentor, and I hoped to leave a positive impact on the students I came in contact with. I sometimes questioned whether I truly made an impact on these kids but reading the notes some of them left for me and seeing K— cry in front of everyone during Open Mic showed me just how important this program really is to these kids. In her note to me, K— wrote, “I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you and I am proud to say you are a part of my Butler Writer’s family.” The feeling I got when reading that is one of the best feelings I’ve had. Knowing you made an impact in someone’s life is one of the most rewarding things to experience.
Walking out of those ominous, black double doors for the last time on the last day, my chest was tighter than I thought it would be. I thought again about K—’s heartfelt speech of gratitude and the long embrace she gave me as I left. I thought again about D— and how much I would miss hearing her say, “You’re my favorite… don’t tell nobody though.” I thought again about W— and how much I would miss his blunt humor. I thought again about R— and how much I would miss listening to his ingenious poetry. As I got in my car and pulled out of the parking lot, I took one long last look at the building. It was hard to believe that at one point I had been scared to go in there because now it was a place I looked forward to going every Tuesday and Thursday. It was also hard to believe I would never be back, and I might not ever see these students I’d grown so fond of again. As I drove away, the sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and though I felt a small lump forming in the back of my throat, I thought to myself how lucky I was to have experienced something like this, and how it had changed me for the better. I wanted to leave a positive impact on these kids, but in the end, they were the ones that left the lasting impact on me.
Jazmin Nysewander is a first-year Spanish major.