When I was in my second year of my Masters in Counseling at Fordham University in NY, my world was turned upside down on September 11, 2001. My Group Psychology class met for the second time two days later. Week after week, we came to class. We did the work. In fact, we worked harder than ever. The class was delivered in the traditional way and the unknown really bothered us, yet we thrived. I also took a traditional course on Tuesdays. I don’t even remember the topic, but I do remember my groups class. I did not find out until the last day of the semester that our Professor, Dr. Stephen Jambor was amazed at our resilience. He commended us for persisting, dealing with fears, and overcoming adversities.
I’ve been thinking about that time in my life because once again, I have students dealing with major catastrophes. A few years ago, Hurricane Sandy impacted many students. Last semester, immigration issues were prevalent. This semester, students with homes and families in Puerto Rico had to deal with uncertainty, trauma, and continued survival. The anxiety I was witness to was heartbreaking.
This brings me to this past Monday. I had a student who flew to PR to bring supplies to her family, had a full course load, and two jobs. On top of this, she has been suffering with medical issues since Hurricane Maria. Although she is struggling, she is still resilient. Another student didn’t hear from her family for weeks. She still showed up. These students show me how persistent people can be. Going to college is more important than their immediate needs. All of my students impacted are first generation college students. They have goals bigger than a Hurricane.
I wish them the best and will always remember their resilience.