To start service this late in the game provides a variety of challenges. With losing time at the start of the semester, we have less time to work with them on cura personalis, and really only have enough time to work with them on their studies and try to squeeze in other ways to work with them as well. It feels rushed, and in my opinion I think that it sets up the mentoring environment to be more one-dimensional, which we have to focus on to combat effectively in order to help our students grow as complete individuals and not simply as scholars.
I am really blessed (in more ways than just this) to be with the same kid this semester as I was last semester. We really bonded, and I feel as if we have a good connection, but that just makes the lack of time we have together all the more precious, yet futile. I feel sometimes as though he thinks I made the decision not to come see him, which is obviously not the case, but my worst nightmare is for him to feel like going to SILA is an obligation for me.
I have said since first starting service at Loyola through CCSJ that I get so much more out of it than I can ever hope to give to the people I'm serving. I do service for a very selfish reason, and that is because it enhances my life and I cannot picture my life without the sense of humility and graciousness it provides me. My kid at SILA and all the kids at CRJ have permanently and profoundly changed my life and outlook on service and the world at large. My lack of time at SILA makes me feel a little bit more at ease when the kids will not have Loyola students as mentors next year, we know that they can do it. We add extra to their lives, where as for me, they make up a massive amount of mine. I truly will never be able to repay them for all that they have given me.
I was very upset to hear that we would have so little time with the students this semester, but I promised myself that I would make the best of it with the little time that we had! I was fortunate to have the same student this semester as last semester, so luckily we already knew each other and were able to pick up right where we left off. I have already been able to see improvements in my student's success, which makes me feel so proud and accomplished. As we have gotten to know each other, my student has really opened up and become much less shy around me. He now feels comfortable with asking me questions and talking to me about his life. It's great knowing that he can look forward to the time that we spend together.
I'm definitely sad that I have so little time with our students this semester. However, I am really happy I still have the same student, Darren. We always find time to laugh and talk in between math problems, grammar worksheets, and social studies packets. I am always so excited to tutor at SILA because of Darren's fun personality even though he can be a troublemaker. He also wants to know more about who I am and asks me questions. When we can finish the majority of his homework and still find time to talk about hobbies, sports, etc. I consider it a successful tutoring session. I think if I didn't know Darren from fall semester at SILA, the tutoring would be a lot more one dimensional because we wouldn't have had a lot of time to get to know each other.
I am really sad that we get very little time with our students this semester. Every Wednesday I look forward to going to service. I am really lucky that I got to keep working with the same little one this semester. I feel like I have truly built a connection with Kennard. Today he told me his top three choices of high schools where he would like to go to when he graduates. He is definitely himself and I've seen how much he has grown as a responsible student this semester!
Our semester is indeed almost complete and to just now meet the little ones became upsetting only after my first encounter with Rashyn there. Rashyn is my 11 year-old mentee who will be turning 12 this Saturday. You ever so appropriately noted that the students of SILA still function whether we are there or not and come to think of it we do too. It was not until I met my brillant little guy that I felt that I was needed there or it was my duty to attend service there. Starting so late in the semester now leaves a heavy responsibility on my heart to make it every week because I must make ever single one count. In addition, it inspires me to allow my yearning for service to continue beyond graduation. As this is my first semester at SILA, I have no basis for comparison. However, I find myself engaging in conversation beyond the school work to truly learn about my student. Although it has only been two weeks, I feel as though I have learned so much about Rashyn and he never ceases to be the highlight of my week.