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When hardship strikes, help is always here

This is not a happy post, but it is my hope that in posting it, I can capture some of the excellence of the people–the students and professors–that truly ARE McDaniel.

Life at college is good, but sometimes, life off campus has a way of penetrating life on campus, and sometimes, in not so pleasant ways. This is an inevitability of life, but during my time at McDaniel, I’ve discovered that when life has thrown some of its most unpleasant turns at me, my professors, friends, and peers here at McDaniel have been able to give me the support, accommodations, and love that I need.

Last week, one of my great aunts passed away. She hadn’t been in the best of health recently, so I wasn’t caught completely off guard. But she was very important to me, so her passing was nevertheless sad. I was able to control my grief pretty quickly, but anxiety soon struck. I wanted to be able to go to her funeral, but not yet knowing when it would take place, I had no clue how it would affect my studies and my schedule for this week. It can be stressful to drop everything and go home unexpectedly, but sometimes, circumstances require it. I refused to miss the funeral, and I even drove through some freak late-March snow on Sunday night just so I could be there.

The day after my aunt passed away, I connected with all of my professors to let them know that while I did not know when I would be missing class, I wanted to have plans in place for any day of the week so that when the funeral date was announced, I would be able to plan my course and work schedules around it. My professors, even though I wasn’t able to be certain about when I would miss class, were sincere in helping me come up with those courses of action, so that by the time I did know that the funeral would be Monday, I didn’t have to worry because I had plans that I could then solidify and others that I drop once they became unneeded. And of course, my professors were sincere with their sympathy.

My classmates were also understanding. This week, I have to give a group presentation on The Winter’s Tale for my Shakespeare class, and before I knew the funeral date, there was a possibility that I would have to miss my own presentation. Even though my circumstances were out of my control, when I told my group mates, whom I don’t know all that well, that I might not be able to present with them and have to work on the presentation at weird times, they were completely understanding and were able to help me work around my unexpectedly and inconveniently-timed  weird schedule.

Lastly, my friends and close acquaintances whom I’ve told about my aunt’s passing have done a great job showing me their love through ample hugs, which are exactly the sort of support I need in this situation. The support has been unwavering. I received hugs and well wishes when I first found out about the passing, when I was worried about how I would deal with classes and missing work, when I was afraid of driving home in the snow, and even now since I’ve returned to campus.

At McDaniel, I’ve been able to build a rich network of support that I can rely on no matter what degree of hardship I’m going through. My network is also there for me in times of happiness. Being a part of such a caring campus community has truly made a positive difference in my life.

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