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“I” for “Impatient”

As students, we learn to sell our strengths — in interviews, in cover letters, and in applications. But what happens when one of your grades depends on being able to articulate a weakness of yours?

One of my favorite parts of my high school literature experience was reading The Scarlet Letter during my junior year. The book was awesome, but what made this unit unique to me was one assignment. My teacher told each of us to wear our “scarlet letters” to school. The intent was not for us to reveal some deep, dark secret; rather, the goal was to be able to healthily accept our own “letters” and the roles they played in each of our lives. So, that morning, I pinned a softball-sized “I” to my navy uniform sweater and drove with my younger sister to school.

“I” was for “impatient.”

Thankfully, my English class was in the morning because during the car ride to school, I kept wondering what this in-class discussion would be like. I had yet to receive a letter grade for spilling a secret. But the class ended up being hilarious. My teacher was the type of person who, when you talked to her, made you feel like you were the only person in the room. That class period, she put aside her books and writing utensils and encouraged us to do the same. We all laughed with each other about our flaws and the examples people shared (I think my favorite one was when one of my classmates said that she is so indecisive that she sometimes orders two meals at a restaurant).

Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the chaos it has caused in our world makes me want to pin a letter “I” on all of my sweaters. This period of uncertainty has been a rollercoaster of emotions: from sadness over leaving my home under the dome during my favorite semester, to worry after reading the daily news, to joy over watching countless episodes of Fleabag and Parks and Recreation with my family while each of us occupies our usual spots in front of the television, our beloved puppy asleep on her favorite white blanket. Yet, my impatience continues to dominate my feelings. When will the world return to normal? What will this new normal look like?

In stressful times like these, showing patience in even the smallest moments can change the mood from fearful to supportive. For example, extending patience to the person delivering groceries, calmly waiting for the Keurig that’s taking a little long to warm up in the morning as I stand by the counter with my oat milk in hand, and showing gratitude to the professors working out online classes on Zoom.

Book + latte

I think about that letter each time I find myself slipping into an impatient mentality, and it is the vision of the “I” that reminds me to take a deep breath and calm down. I still wish I had that letter, not just to remind me of that English class, but to remind myself to hang in there. We’re all just hanging in there. Who knows what the future holds? The only things we can control are our own actions.



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Meg Pryor

Notre Dame '22

Meg is an editor for the Notre Dame chapter. Major: Psychology Minor: Journalism
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