Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Sad Experience

I have encountered only a few students who have come into the writing center with sensitive writing topics. The most memorable experience I have had so far with this topic was when a young lady in her late twenties came with a personal narrative. The young woman’s paper was about a very dramatic experience she had has a teenager. At the age of seventeen, this student lost her mother to an unstable man with a gun. The paper explained the events leading up to the mother’s murder and the proceedings that followed after. The personal narrative also included the young lady’s reactions to the situation after hearing the news and how to she deals with the pain of losing her mother today. During the session, the student would cry here and there as I read through the different events that took place during that horrible and sad day. I felt the need to stop in the middle of the paper and ask her if she wanted me to continue. The student didn’t see any need to stop, so I continued to read aloud. When I was finished, I looked at the student sitting next to me and told her how sorry I was for her loss. I cannot imagine going through such a hard, painful experience and keeping myself from falling apart. My mother and I are very close. She is the person I go to when I have a difficult problem and need comfort. Thinking about this very idea brings tears to my eyes. I honestly don’t know what I would do with myself if I lost her. Even with the passing of so many years, the pain of a lost love one can still linger and cause tears of sadness. I was impressed with how well this young lady held herself to together and the strength that she demonstrated.

After reading through her personal narrative, the student explained the situation in a little more detail. I sat there and listened; I asked questioned when I thought appropriate. I wanted to let the student know that I was there to offer the support I could and that this was a safe place to express herself. From the brief conversation we had, I learned that her mother had been pregnant and the unstable man that shot her was an ex-boyfriend. I apologized again her for hardship. During the time the student expressed her sadness of the situation and went into more detail on what occurred, there was the thought in the back of my mind that if the session was to take a turn for the worst I would be unsure of how to handle it. I remember being told to recommend outside sources, such as counseling services. Luckily nothing of the sort happened. The student and I went of the paper and fixed a few grammatical things, nothing to major. Her writing overall was pretty clear and got the point across. At the end of the session, I thanked the student for sharing her paper with me and apologized for her loss once more. I think the biggest thing this particular student needed was for someone to listen to what she had to say, so she could get whatever was weighting her down off and into the air. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to what they have to say and understand it. I believe, at least I like to think, I was able to help the student by doing this. 


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