By: Kiara Abdullah
There I stood, in a pair of freshly pressed khakis and tightly laced Timberlands, ready for the day ahead. It was a Thursday, no different than any other day. The sun was out and I was excited to work with my students. I had just finished morning greeting when I heard what appeared to be the pounding of a drum in the hallway. Confused, I stopped walking and turned to see a student of mine no more than 5’ tall racing towards me, her footsteps getting louder and louder. With every step she took my heart beat faster. It was a reflex I developed working in such high stakes environments. As the student got closer I caught a glimpse of a smile and relaxed a little.
“Miss!,” I heard her scream, “look what I’ve got!” She stood on her tip-toes, pressing a piece of paper up to my face. I pushed the paper back and began to read the words “Congratulations, Colorado State University is happy to have you.” She patiently waited for me to finish reading but couldn’t seem to hold it in. “It’s an acceptance letter!” she blurted out. I dropped my backpack and gave her a huge hug. “Are you proud of me?” she questioned, tilting her head to the side. “Of course I am,” I answered back, fighting to compose myself. “Good! ‘Cause I’m proud of myself.” She grew a huge smile, grabbed the envelope, and raced back down the hall just barely getting to class before the bell rang. As she ran past me she yelled back, “Miss K, this is the best day of my life!”
Those words echoed through my head for the remainder of the day. I began wondering when the best day of my life was or if it’s still to come. I thought about the time I got my braces off after having them for 12 years. I thought about the first time I scored a goal in soccer or the summer I landed my back handspring. Sure, those were great days but, were they the best days? I thought harder to graduations, weddings, and even the time I found $150 on a sidewalk. Then, I thought about what separated those days from any other day and that’s when I realized you don’t know until you’re in it. You just need to be ready to receive it.
That is exactly why I, as a City Year corps member, fight hard for every student, every day, so that our students are ready for anything. Growing up my mother used to say, يد واحدة ماتسقفش”” In Arabic this roughly translates to “one hand doesn’t clap.” As much as I’d like to think of my students’ success as my doing, the truth is I’m just an over glorified cheerleader. Collaboration is necessary to accomplish anything great. It was my student who got into college that day but it felt just like the first time I landed my back handspring. And that’s when I realized that her success is my success. Her best day is my best day.