I remember it like it was yesterday. My 7th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Seabolt, told me that the “World could be my oyster.” Let me give you a little bit of background information. In elementary school I got decent grades but I was talkative and my grades didn’t reflect my potential. I had never heard the term “World could be your oyster” so being the curious youth that I was I asked her what it meant. She basically told me that “all opportunities are open to someone, the world is theirs.” Maybe it was the naivety of a 12 year old but I actually believed that I could do anything I put my mind to. I actually believed that I could take over the world. All this because an 80+ year old woman with throat cancer believed in me. Yep 80+. Mrs. Seabolt always carried around a cup of water because her radiation therapy left her without the ability to produce her own saliva. It really hurt me the next year when I found out that she succumbed to her cancer. From the 7th grade till my junior year in high school I didn’t get so much as a B on my report card (damn physics). I’ve never shared my motivation behind doing so well in school with anyone. She didn’t just tell me positive things. She saw my potential and worked with me. She kicked me in the ass whenever I slacked and pushed me to be great.
It’s amazing how someone can see something in you that you never saw in yourself. All it takes is someone to open up your eyes so you can see it for yourself. Teachers have the most underrated, underpaid, under appreciated profession in this country. My motivation to do well in school was an older, Caucasian woman. Not my parents, not a professional athlete, not a rapper but a teacher.
To this day I still think I can take over the world. Maybe not in the literal sense but in a theoretical one. I still think that I can do anything I put my mind to. I don’t put restrictions on myself. I know that in order to achieve anything in this world, I have to grab the opportunities that life has given to me. I find it ironic that the woman who first gave me my motivation died from cancer now I’m in the field of cancer research.
Who first told you that you could be great? Where do you continue to look for motivation? Do you have that one teacher who made a difference in your life?
This is my song of the month and maybe the summer.