Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Meaningful Experience

While I have tutored a few emotional students, I have tutored many highly emotional papers. The most emotionally charged paper I have tutored was a paper a woman wrote about watching her father being murdered by her step-grandfather. Besides experiencing shock and horror at reading about the murder, the paper was full of every emotion. The paper started out by describing the perfect, beautiful day she had had with her brother and her father before he was murdered. When I asked her a question about it, she went into more detail and her face lit up. She was reliving that moment, and she was happy while remembering it. The paper then turned to fear when her drunken grandfather confronted her father. Confusion was next when she was described how her little girl mind could not figure out what the loud bang was or why her father was on the ground. The paper ended with anger: anger at her stepfather for killing her father, anger at her grandmother for lying to the police to protect her husband, and anger at life for being unfair.
After finishing the paper (which took a long time because I was new, and I wanted to make sure she knew I cared about her story), we were both pretty emotionally drained. She had been on the verge of tears for most of the paper, but she said that she had really wanted to get the story out. We talked for a bit after and she explained to me that she had found peace after many years of struggling with her father’s death. This was a sad kind of peace, I could see that in her eyes, but she was ok.
The best part about tutoring this paper was the connection I made with the student. She shared her deepest emotions in the paper and even more with me, and I felt her emotions and was moved by them. The following week she came back into the center and waited for me to get out of the session I was in. I walked up to her and asked her how she was, and she told me she wanted to say thanks. She said that her professor had told her it was one of the best narrative pieces he had ever read. She was almost in tears again, and I was so happy for her. She had been able to share her sensitive story and get that weight off her chest all while getting a fantastic grade and validation of her story through her professor.
Technically, that session wasn’t one of my best, but it was one of my favorites. It really meant a lot to student and to me as well. When she came back, I was validated as a new tutor that I was making a difference. Emotions ran high, and we were drained after the session was over, but those emotions made the session a meaningful experience.


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