In high school, I experienced many trials and tribulations. I was a very high-achieving student, expecting only the best from myself, and I dealt with severe anxiety that peaked during high school, although I have noticed it all my life. Having severe anxiety was difficult because it felt like nobody really understood my struggle. For many, a passive “Things will be fine, just get over it,” seemed to be enough to get them through.
While support from my closest friends meant a lot to me, they were all going through their own struggles throughout high school as well. I found myself becoming distant from my peers and spent a lot of time away from large groups of people my age. This all changed when I joined the school newspaper.
I never thought I would actually enjoy nor do well in a journalistic setting. In fact, I only took a newspaper course to satisfy an arts requirement. However, I ended up doing extremely well, eventually becoming News Editor and then Editor-in-Chief. Not only did I begin to love journalistic writing, but the support I received from my newspaper advisors greatly impacted my life moving forward.
When life at home felt unbearable, they lifted me up. When I just needed an escape from the stressors of life, they provided a seat in the newsroom or their office for me to take a breather. When I had absolutely no clue what to do to prepare for college, they gave me guidance. When I felt nervous about my applications, they read every single draft.
There are many other influential teachers that left a mark on my life, and I will remember every single one of them for the rest of my life. High school may seem just like a small blip in the long walk of life: a simple four-year process that prepares you for college and future endeavors. However, the life lessons I learned from the influential educators at my school will never be taken for granted.
I think that people tend to overlook the long hours educators, specifically high school teachers, put in to bettering their students’ futures. Not everyone’s story looks the same as mine, but the best teachers take time to learn all their students. They pay attention to how their students are doing. There were many days when I was completely drained and it felt like I was out of my body, and my teachers noticed. Even going into college, I can name a few professors that have deeply changed my life, acting not only as a teacher, but as a support system.
It may seem silly to think about, but just remember that no matter where you are in the walk of life, there will be people teaching you. These people don’t always get the appreciation they deserve, but one day, you’ll make a decision—or just look back on your past experiences—and realize that you are where you are in part thanks to them.
Thank you, educators— you are true heroes.