Kaylee is working as an Americorps volunteer at a school in Austin, Texas. She emailed UCM about the experience. This letter is reprinted and edited with her permission.
Between two moves, roommate trouble, someone who keeps stealing things in our apartment, working 16-hour days and being sick for this whole month, I’ve been a little overwhelmed. Gahh!! I am hoping things will start to trend up from here on out. But, I didn’t write you to complain, I’m also writing to reflect, since it has been too long.
I’d be lying to say if I haven’t had a few pity parties since being here. However, I’m rather proud of myself for being able to have a panic attack and then calm down enough to try to come up with a solution. I’ve never had more confidence than I currently have in my ability to do just about anything, including handling meetings with major companies and lawyers.
I finally got all of the kids I’m going to tutor this year and one incident really stuck out to me. We had to make these get to know you books and in my first page I drew my favorite animal: a dolphin. As I was reading this page to one of my students I said, “I tried to draw a dolphin, but it’s not very good.” He furrowed his brow, looked at me and said “It’s perfect.” He said it so matter of factly, too.
In that moment I had a flood of emotions that I didn’t have time to reflect on, but how insightful? To me I had drawn a very poor representation of my favorite animal but to him he knew exactly what it was and couldn’t understand why I didn’t think it was perfect.
This is a reminder to me for me to stop putting myself down because even though I’m doubting myself and trying to navigate through this new life doesn’t mean I’m failing. Or maybe I am failing, but in the ways that I need to: to learn, to grow and to be a better version of me than I ever thought possible. So right now to myself I look like that wonky version of my dolphin, but I’m okay with that, because that wonky dolphin is awesome.