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Great story: The email of impact

Michaela Martin

When I initially thought about writing this, I was nervous that I would not have something impactful to talk about. I was afraid I would not be able to convey how every student I serve is extraordinary, witty and determined. Now, it is safe to say, I do not have any reservations while writing this because, as I just said, each student I serve is extraordinary, witty and determined.

When I arrived at school this morning and opened my laptop, I saw an email from one of the colleges to which a student of mine applied. Not thinking much about it, I opened the email. It said that the student who applied wrote a response to the application prompt about someone they consider a mentor who has impacted their life. As I read the student’s words, I began to tear up because they had chosen to write about me. When I started with College Possible, I did not understand the magnitude of its effect on my students. I knew we were chasing impact, but it did not register that I would get to see that impact unfold before my eyes as a service member. The student’s short essay had been attached, and as I read it I realized I was no longer chasing impact with this student; the deed was done.

As I continued reading, I was in awe. I did not know the student regarded me so highly and considered me influential. Often when supporting these extraordinary and determined students, I feel like they influence me more than I influence them. I love it when they randomly stop by my office to chat, not only about college but about their lives. I enjoy sharing their excitement about getting a scholarship or being accepted into a school, supporting them through stressful times when they feel like everything is in a state of chaos, and being moved to tears by their humor and struggles. Sharing in their experiences has taught me patience as well as persistence. You could go as far as to say that these students make me want to do more for myself and others. These students are my inspiration to pursue my own dreams and goals.

When I arrived at the bottom of the email, there was a personal note from the college’s director of admissions. She wrote, “I want to personally thank you for your influence in [student’s] life and I sincerely hope that these remarks affirm the mission and value in the work you do.” The student’s words and the note from the admissions director will follow me through my service term at College Possible — and beyond. I printed the student’s words to keep at my desk, and when I find myself struggling, I will read her essay again, because it reminds me of the impact we at College Possible are chasing.

This Great Story was written by Michaela Martin, an AmeriCorps member at College Possible Omaha.

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