Opinion

Mentors’ past can help avoid turmoil

It was my freshman year in high school when I developed a modified case of senioritis. I wasn’t lazy – I just wanted to leave. Something about the hallways and the cafeteria felt directionless and cataclysmic.

When my circle of friends became a gap-filled crescent because of different preferences of personal poisons, I spent as much time as I could in my English teacher’s classroom. His name was Mr. Klassen, and he was younger than my parents, but old enough to know himself.

This man did one simple thing for me: Despite his authority, he allowed himself to be open. Acknowledging this, I too stopped hiding.

Every day at the beginning of class, we all had to write in journals for 15 minutes. The journals were graded, but they were not to be judged.

I had written journals before, but not diligently. High school had a lot of heavy happenings in comparison to sporadic journal-worthy events in elementary school, such as, “I got a goldfish, then it died,” and, “Yesterday I went flying with my fairies.”

With the journaling made into a daily obligatory habit, my candor in the written word became candor in speech. Out of seemingly nowhere, I became unstoppable. I was unfiltered and unleashed.

I wrote about things I had never examined before, plucked my consciousness out by the antennae like a little bug, and let it run all over the place, ink eating away at the margins.

At lunch or after class, Mr. Klassen’s insights gave my thoughts value, myself validation. He was impressed with my willingness to tear myself open and examine the good, the bad  and the unknown, unapologetically and perhaps recklessly. Without ever seeming preachy or pretentious, he contemplated the complexities and offered only what he had come to understand through his own experiences. He never gave me feeble cliches or false emotion. Just truth.

It was a wisdom I couldn’t extract from people my own age, and a candidness I wasn’t used to experiencing with adults. Mr. Klassen was able to guide me in a way that a parent could not.

Now in college, I’m finding that a university campus is the perfect place to reach out to even more people whose knowledge and experience surpass my own. Professors have succeeded to the greatest degree in pursuing the individual topics that interest us and can therefore advise and counsel us on the direction of our dreams.

Mentors help strengthen interests into fluency, and that fluency becomes the foundation we build upon to turn aspirations into actuality.

The stable voice of a mentor guides us through the more turbulent times, when stupidity fights to be louder. The words of the wise serve to help us up from our greatest falls, and keep us from catastrophe.

Of all the advice given to me, this has held truest: “Heaven and hell exist here and now, within your own mind. You choose which one you live in. You create your reality.”

Listen to the people who can help you build your greatest world. They’ve likely experienced both heaven and hell and can spare you the suffering.

 

Hunter Wright is a sophomore majoring in creative writing.

October 9, 2013

Reporters

Hunter Wright


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

A six-pack of UM notes on a Monday: ▪ There has been no more popular or successful quarterback at UM ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and stopping opponents on third d ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Listeners to UM President Julio Frenk’s State of the U reacted positively to the message and the Uni ...

At UM’s inaugural State of the U address, President Julio Frenk detailed the strategies of the Roadm ...

Tropical storm scientists and climate experts at the University of Miami provided insight, observati ...

Joseph Ganitsky, a professor in the Miami Business School, examines the financial crisis facing Arge ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

Miami remained ranked in both major polls Sunday, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top ...

The Miami Hurricanes came to Toledo, Ohio for the biggest home game in the history of Toledo footbal ...

A quartet of University of Miami men's tennis student-athletes concluded the final day of compe ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.