My Dear Professor Coba-Loh
I felt lost. I was midway through my classes towards obtaining a degree in the human services field. I was certain about my natural passion for helping others, and willingness to acquire the necessary skillset. However, I had yet not found my true purpose, that crucial drive that pushes you to the finish line, because the bigger picture is now clear. I was stagnant, on airplane mode, going through the motions failing to find my place in the community and the way I could contribute.
I was going through a swirl of emotions. Was I too deep into a degree to change my mind? Why don’t I feel the connection I imagined? Should I take a break through the pandemic? Will solely online classes worsen the way I feel? It seemed like taking a break to do some soul searching was my best bet, when a fellow student asked me if I knew of any local recovery meetings she could attend as an observer for an assignment.
The question was intriguing. I have never been afraid to talk publicly about my journey to recovery, but for some reason I had never made the connection between the meetings I cheer as a recovered addict and helping someone who suffers from substance abuse professionally. My eyes lit up. I wanted to know everything about the classes she was taking. I shared the information she needed for her assignment, and she shared with me a flier for a certificate program within the field called, Behavioral Healthcare Specialist, certified to work with adults and children suffering from a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse, which would include an internship.
At the bottom of the flier was your name and contact information along with a deadline date of the day before. Looking at the date was devastating, but it sparked the eagerness I was longing for. I wrote that email with my heart in my hands, hoping you would show sympathy. Not only did you respond immediately, but your words were full of enthusiasm, hope, and optimism that I could meet your requirements by the following day if I was serious about participating.
Joining your program meant that I would have to take extra classes aside from the required credits to graduate. I would have to work and go to school full-time for two semesters, but the excitement overshadowed the fear of adding to my full plate.
Meeting you and joining the program filled more voids than I had speculated. You were my professor for three out of four classes and yet, each class touched me in a unique way. For the first time in my life I was learning about myself and traits due to my upbringing. I would cry through your assignments remembering my childhood trauma, but looking at my parents from a different perspective. You held my hand through grief and depression while preparing me for a successful internship, and the icing on the cake was finally meeting you in person. I hope Housatonic Community College knows your worth and what you mean to countless students. You are the definition of empathy and the human services field. Because of your ability to meet your students halfway, I completely embraced my journey with pride and found my place in the community. I belong to the recovery community.
I will forever be indebted to your work ethic and motivation. My admiration for you is what I will hold as an example for the way I will serve all who walk through the doors of the organization I founded, Simply Inspired Souls Corporation (SIS), focused on nutrition, mental health, and addiction. I will also think of you with gratitude as I hear my name called on May 25, 2023 as a Human Services graduate. Thank you.