The other day I was walking to the HUB, minding my business when some random person calls out my name.
It was this guy sitting with his friends at a table and i thought to myself, "Who the hell is this guy?” I mean, he did look familiar. Probably a face from my hall during my first year, or perhaps a party i went to, or a meeting on campus.
I did what any confused person would do and simply asked, “Sorry I forgot your name, what was it again?"
The guy said his name and he told me he went to KE13 the previous year!
No doubt i felt like an ass. I didn’t even recognize one of my KE kids! Granted, there were 60 of them that (Imagine how much harder teachers have it). Anyways, I find out that he goes to UCR now as a first year and is dorming in the same res hall I was in (WEST LO, YOU KNOW!) But what was really shocking to me during this whole experience was what he said next…
"Actually, KE was one of the reasons I chose to come to UCR.”
That’s crazy. I was speechless. To see the purpose of my event, which is to “promote higher education and to inspire them to want to reach for it,” become a reality really opened my eyes. To see one of the students that attended this event really take that to heart and act upon it, was truly humbling.
My whole philosophy on planning this event was to do it for that one person. That one person that will take this experience with them for the rest of their lives and use it to help them create who they want to be. After KE13, I gradually realized that it didn’t just affect one person, but it affected them all.
From the Kid that didn’t say one word during group discussions that ended up asking me if he could perform last minute in front of 120 people.
From that Kid that saw that they weren’t alone in their struggles and became comfortable enough to open up to their group.
From that Kid that finally accepted who they were and was able to find happiness and peace.
From the Kid that wanted to take hold of this once-in-a-lifetime experience known as “college” and embrace it.
And to those who took this experience and was inspired enough to want to give back and give this opportunity to the next generation.
I may not be Outreach Director anymore, but KE13 still hasn’t ended. I’m still making the connections. It’s still continuing to open my eyes to a bigger world. It’s still putting my life in perspective. It’s still causing me to want to make a difference in other people’s lives. I may not know what i’m doing with my life career-wise yet, but i do know i like what i’ve done with my life so far.