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High School Column: Embracing life’s uncertainties
Kaleigh Mullis - L-EHS (Web).jpg
Kaleigh Mullis, Lugoff-Elgin High School

When we wake up in the morning, we have no idea what the day ahead of us will entail. We don’t know who we will meet or whether the day will go as planned, but I believe there’s a beauty in not knowing what is ahead of us.

One of the best things that ever happened to me was totally unexpected.

Last May, I filled out an application to work at the Life Camp of Kershaw County. I had no idea what I’d be doing or who I’d be working with, but I decided it would be a good way to make money over the summer. Little did I know, it would be a life-changing experience; it would be one of the best decisions I ever made.

When I walked in on the first day, I truthfully expected it to be like a boring day at school, but it was so much more than that. I found out that I’d be working with Jewel Hopkins, a 2nd Grade teacher I was familiar with but didn’t know on a personal level. I watched her carefully that day, observing the way she treated the students with kindness while still establishing authority. The kids loved her, and it made me smile to see someone positively impact so many kids at once.

As the days went by, Mrs. Hopkins had me and the other helpers do different things like play math games with the kids, read them books, and sometimes simply play with them. I began to form a special bond with the boys and girls; they would hang on to my legs as I walked back and forth across the room and would beg me to sit next to them and read with them. The most gratifying thing in the whole world was watching their faces light up when they discovered how to solve a math problem or read an entire book without my help.

I walked into that classroom on the first day believing that I’d be a dental hygienist in the future. I wasn’t there to have some epiphany; I was just there to have a job. I didn’t know what the kids would be like. I had no idea if they’d like me, if they would be eager to learn, or if I was going to be wiping off tables and cleaning up messes rather than actually helping the boys and girls learn.

That camp ended up being so much more to me than a summer job. It was an incredible experience that convinced me to become a teacher. It changed my entire career path and it allowed me to use a talent I didn’t even know I had. The kids were loving, animated, and willing to take on the day (most of the time). They helped me realize that I had a talent and a love for teaching, and I’ll always remember their happy little faces and the impact they had on me.

Because of the Life Camp last summer, I without a doubt want to be a teacher. Something that I didn’t expect to be rewarding at all completely changed my life, and I think there’s a valuable lesson in that. Sometimes, the things we don’t see coming can make the largest impacts on our lives. We should embrace the fact that some things are unknown and trust that whatever these uncertainties bring will help mold us into the people we are supposed to be.