Submitted by Ben Kinkade

My hope is to accomplish two things by writing this editorial. First, this is a large, open-note thank-you letter to my instructors from last quarter (my first at Western and Woodring College of Education) and the present term.

My first quarter was difficult. I returned to school after losing a beloved career. I was in a new city. This all paled in comparison when I later wrestled with health issues and worst of all, the unknown of my health issues.

This editorial isn’t for reader sympathy, however. I aim to honor the people who believe in me, and demonstrate that I am trying to be optimistic and turn negatives to positives as best as I presently can.

The time required to deal with my health added to the normal stress of my classes and those stressors, in turn, affected my health too. But I learned something! I realized the amazing significance of feedback loops (or cycles) that my biology instructor so impressed upon me at The Evergreen State College.

In this situation, I naturally haven’t felt my best. I have been forced through the gauntlet of emotions: worry, isolation, doubt, sadness, fear, you name it. The fact that I am taking a class that will be my largest obstacle in my college career keeps my mind extremely preoccupied. Fortunately, I have a great teacher that believes in me. And because I’ve been head-down, mind on the game, extremely preoccupied and indifferent, an acquaintance and classmate called me out last week.

In their opinion, I’m now “downcast, negative and I have way too much bad news.” And, well, I’m not the guy to go out and drink my worries away, so I guess I was somewhat “antisocial,” too. On one hand, I felt sad with the lack of compassion and understanding; but as always, I’m a considerate person, so it made me take a long, hard look at myself.

This person is always harsh on me, but I still wondered, “Do people think I’m unfriendly or rude?”

As I attempted three-ball after three-ball at the SRC I had plenty of time to consider how I now might come off. I do not want to perpetually be the person that has bad news.

I’m just happy that no one else I care about has had to experience this. So, to my classmates (and this should come without saying) please don’t take my seriousness, quietness or drop in humor personally.

During the time that I was in the worst shape, my instructors had my back, gave me courage, and believed in me. I had feared that my instructors would think I was buying time to accomplish my assignments. They didn’t! Instead, I was met with supportive expressions of,

“If I can do anything, let me know!” “Your health is most important!” “The profession needs you!” and so on.

So, I want to send a HUGE shout-out to my professors, who had and have my back and who always can consider themselves vested by my assistance if ever they need support. Thank you Kristen, Karen, Tracy, Paula, Amber, Alex, Joanne and Cyndie! You all rock!