I wanted to take the time to write some closing words about my personal experiences in the Gulf Coast this week. I know that all week, much of the stuff that has been written has been about the destruction that took place down there and all of the things that have been lost in the storm over three years ago. Two things that I have taken from the trip is not about the destruction, but what has blossomed as a result of the destruction. Those things that have blossomed are the human spirit, and a renewed sense of belief in the college student.
There was a lot of spirit in those storm victims. Amongst all of the things that have gone wrong down there from the lack of help from insurance companies to corrupt city officials who actually made money off of the desaster, these people still forge on with a smile on their face, a song in their heart and recipies for good gumbo on their mind. They love to see volunteers and I was personally treated with respect from those whose houses I wasn’t even working on. If nothing else, that area has a lot of love to offer and that was enough for me to cherish this experience forever.
As for my belief students, you have to understand, I have always believed in the potential of students. Whether or not they met that potential was totally up to them. The main reason that I fulfilled my dream of becomoing a student affairs professional, which is an odd dream to have in the first place, was to help students meet that potential. Unfortunately, as I have gone up in the ranks, the majority of what I have seen is the bad side of students. What made this trip important to me was that I got to spend time with an exceptional group of students whom I may not have had any contact with if I haden’t been a last minute replacement in the advisor position which makes me actually pretty lucky. I was not the only lucky one at Camp Coast Care either. There were countless numbers of people from Virginia, Minnesota and Conneticut who came to me frequently telling me what a joy it was to work with these students. They continuously told me that the future is going to be a great place because we will have students like these leading us and I could not agree more. Then, these folks would go on to thank me for bringing them, at that point I had to stop and say, “They brought me.” These students did all of the work and they did a great job, for that I say thank you. Thank you for not only downgrading and bringing me along on this trip, but for also helping me to see the good in students once again. Hopefully I do not sound too much like Whitney Houston by saying that you are the future and I feel pride knowing that you all have and will make large contributions to our society. Also, I wanted to let you know that just because our short journey has ended it does not mean that we will part ways. Rashidah, Christy, Ryan, Nick, Kelly, Chris, Monica, Jeff, Pooja, Donna and of course Zoe, you are all my friends and I hope that you all feel the same towards me. Besides, we all sat under the “Friendship Tree” so we are kinda obligated now. Take care and thanks for reading.