I don't want to get out of bed. I find myself having to do yoga breaths a few times during the day when tasks pile up. Students have caught me talking to myself as they pass my office. Today is day three back from Spring Break and I've told myself at least three times very day, "You have to stop doing all these extra activities."
Aside from typical duties as school counselor (which I hope to share in future blog posts), I am co-chairing a school district wide counselor standards committee where we are trying to standardized counselor practices at all of our school sites. No compensation since the higher ups say "we're playing the groundwork". Well, I think I've run myself into the ground.
I'm also in my third year as the Karangalan Scholarship chair who is responsible for fundraising, soliciting applicants for the scholarship, and coordinating a committee of readers to score the applicants. Phew...
So today, I decided to step away from the office and do my scholarship reads in a relaxing environment without the dozen interruptions of walk in students, parent conferences, phone calls, and emails I encounter every day as a school counselor.
So here I am at Caffe Bene in the Convoy District I love so much. I treated myself to a waffle and Mango Peach Mojito and got myself ready to read my scholarship applications. The music here is wonderful: a mix of old school and modern pop and R and B.
I read the applications of 21 inspiring students across south San Diego. The 4.0+ GPAs, impressive leadership activities, and hundreds of community service was impressive. Yet, what really touched me was the personal stories of these students. All were first-generation or second-generation immigrants from the Philippines. They share stories of their struggles cultural identify at times ashamed thatvtheir appearances didn't match the beautiful on popular media. They are involved in Filipino cultural organizations to strengthen their ties to their culture. They write about the experience of transitioning from life in the Philippines to the United States, one student having to work through her insecurities and allowing herself to be proud to speak Filipino in public. They come from many different backgrounds of family of 8 living in a two bedroom apartment to a family whose parents made the sacrifice of leaving their families in the Philippines to become Oversees Foriegn Workers to provide for their families. Topics of Filipino war veterans, homelessness, homophobia, and family expectations were all issues the students address in their essays. All these students had excellent grades and have been accepted to several colleges and universities in the Fall, many of which are very competitive to gain admissions.
With all the applications read, I began to remember why I do all the "extra" things I do: To make a difference, to help, to provide opportunity, to offer encouragement. I know this scholarship will help students in pursuit of their education. I know heading the counselor standards committee will help all 140+ counselors in the SUHSD better serve our communities. I know it's all good work. It's necessary work.
I might just need a break from all the "extra" to recharge and focus.
Have you never had this feeling? I'd love your advice!