Written with Joseph’s permission:
About 6 weeks ago, Joseph, a UPA senior, asked if he could speak with me about his stress level. I was concerned I would hear another awful story, but it turns out his stress stemmed from not having written his essay for his Eastern University college application. He said he had written part of it, but had been reluctant to show it to anyone. I told him of my love of writing and that I would be happy to read it, so he emailed it to me. It was riddled with guilt from less than stellar school performances over the years…I immediately recognized my son in this kid!
Me…throw this out. It’s your anxiety channel talking. Tell me what gifts God has given you.
Joseph…I am intelligent and creative. And a loyal friend. And I like to take charge of things.
Me…look over the question Eastern is asking and answer it with one of your gifts. Then send it to me.
Additionally I told him to set up a work station in his home, which ended up being a chair and folding table in between two beds in his room. No TV allowed, background music ok to tune out other distractions. Later that night I received a text, “Ms Becky – it’s working! I set up my work station and I am actually getting something done!”
This is what he got done:
In the new testament of the Bible there is a story of a man named Jonah, the one who tried to run away from God but could not and had to obey God’s orders. God told Jonah to travel to Nineveh to pray for them. Jonah disobeyed and traveled to Tarshish and boarded a ship to Tarshish. God sent a storm to the ship to prevent the ship from passing. The sailors on the boat knew that it was Jonah who caused this because he disobeyed God. Jonah told them to throw him overboard so that the storm may stop. After being thrown into the ocean God sent a whale to swallow him and keep him captive inside its belly for 3 days. Jonah prayed and agreed to obey God’s order to bless the people of Nineveh. Jonah was a stubborn, confused man, believing that he knew what was best for him. For that mistake he was inside the belly of a whale, and that is where I believe my story starts off.
I have a passion for creativity and freeing ideas from my mind. I have taught myself how to play an instrument and I have studied at least a few different cultures and styles for guitar. I have learned styles such as rock, classic rock, classical, metal, salsa, bachata, merengue, and gypsy. My creativity expanded during my senior year. I joined a robotics club and became captain of the group. We entered in a competition called First Tech Competition. I specialized in 3d modeling computer aided design and design of the robot. Since my strongest subject is Math the whole process of building a robot was difficult, but possible for me.
As intelligent and fascinating my talents may be, my ethics toward educations are not as the same as my creativity. I do not do homework consistently and for that reason it hurt my GPA. I was stubborn, ignorant, and I thought I knew what was best for me. Not knowing that the position I set myself into led me to stay on pause for my education, just as Jonah was stuck inside the belly of the whale. Eastern I believe is my prayer to God to move on to a better life, to get out of the belly of the whale. As for my talents, I feel though someone as creative as me can assemble more creativity and lead students who feel stuck on life or stuck on education to move on. I can-not be the only one who has felt like this before and it is my blessing just as Jonah to Nineveh to give the wisdom that I have been given from God to others who need to be taught.
And yesterday morning I awoke to another text on my phone…”Ms. Becky! I got into Eastern!” Besides making me extremely happy, what does this have to do with wellness? There is a direct correlation with the level of education you complete and your health and longevity. Joseph’s chances of a healthy, balanced life just increased exponentially with this acceptance letter. Thanks be to God!