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Great Story: “Transforming Words”

Nora Hand

This great story is by Nora Hand, who served as a junior coach, community partners team member, and summer transition coach from 2019-2020. 

While College Possible is designed to make an impact on student lives, College Possible students nonetheless make unforgettable impacts on the lives of their coaches. Even early into my late-arrival as a junior coach, a student entirely changed my day with a single text, and I will never forget it.

Dwelling in rejections [of my own] from graduate school programs, I was deep in self-pity mode one awful day. I was lucky to have a fellow junior coach with a caring ear to hear my problems, but I was still quite immersed in that pity cloud. At the end of our junior coach meeting, at the end of a long day, I received a text from one of my students. It read: “Happy Valentine’s Day Nora, I appreciate you!” I jumped in my seat and gasped with a smile. My fellow junior coach reacted by asking if I had just gotten into a graduate program. “No!” I exclaimed with a grin from ear to ear, “A student texted me Happy Valentine’s Day!”

While a Valentine’s Day message is nice, I should further explain why this one was even better. I send weekly emails to all my students to recap the week’s lessons and to speak about the next ones. For this particular week, Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday. At the very end of this email, I had written that Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to let those in your life know that you appreciate them. Not only had this student read my email, a victory in and of itself, but she had put my words into her actions. In doing so, she reminded me that I played a role in her life (and I was not just that eccentric person who rants about ACT strategies).

It was better than any graduate program offer I could have had. It reminded me that a handful of rejections does not mean I cannot make a difference in the world. We often overlook how small actions can touch the lives of others. This student reminded me of the power a person has by being a presence in your life. At College Possible, our students have as much as an impact on our lives as we do on theirs. Even with a few words, each of us has the ability to change an awful day into a great one.

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