I found myself with back-to back students today. An older mother working on her personal statement for graduate school; a high school girl applying to college for the first time; three community college kids each writing essays for transfers to top four- year universities; a student at one of those top universities needing help with a final paper; an older mother wanting help with her resume so she can return to the work force.
Each student has hopes and aspirations. Each expressed excitement and some embarrassment over the writing they brought in.
“This needs a lot of work.”
“I didn’t really know what I was doing.”
“Sorry if I went on and on.”
In each case, I reassure. “Better something than nothing. We can’t fix an empty page.”
Slow but sure we work through each line. We delete repetitions, add details, reorder events, take out superfluous details. We work together, discussing each decision, and slowly the piece emerges as a cohesive essay. In the meantime, we become friends.
This work is both satisfying and sweet. A chance to make a meaningful connection with people who are full of hopes and dreams.
I am so lucky to get to participate in this process.
It is a gift.