When Your World Grows, Things Change

Tonight my wife returned to her high school to share her experiences with students who were interested in going to college, but weren’t quite sure where to start.

She invited me, and others to join her on a panel where we shared our personal experiences with how we made it through college, and answered any questions they had about academics, social life, and other aspects of college life through the lens of our experiences as first-generation students of color from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

As we were leaving the event, my wife stopped and introduced me to one of her former teachers and counselors; a person whose consistent presence and support helped her through challenging times when she was in high school.

As I shook the hand of her teacher my wife said to her:

“Wow! As I look around I can’t believe that this place is so small. The building; the hallways seemed so much bigger when I went here.”

Her former teacher and counselor responded by saying:

“That’s because it was your whole world. But when you leave, your world changes; your world grows. Old things start to look smaller after that.”

“You know sometimes when a kid feels like “ohh it’s all over because they don’t like me,” or  It’s the end of the world because this or that didn’t happen, I try to tell them that there’s another side and that they’ll get through it.”

I was so struck by those words, that I was inspired to write this note. It was a reminder for me to check myself, and realize that whatever challenges I may currently be experiencing, where I am today, is not where I used to be.

Her words were a great reminder of the importance of expanding our world; that even though it may sometimes seem like “our whole world” might be ending, there’s another side.

Because when our world grows, the old things start to look smaller after that.

Be encouraged.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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