I’ve been feeling a bit worn down the past several days, and I know it’s from stress. I’ve tried to get a lot of sleep over the weekend, and only today decided I’d try to ride the bike, hoping to sweat out the toxins. I think it helped some, and am going to try running again tomorrow morning. We’ll see how it goes.

Ok, so that’s it for the running bit of this post. To me, the important part follows below.

I had a conversation the other day with a student that I’ve replayed in my mind several times since. It helped me to put my stress in perspective, and once again, remind me, that no matter what you’re going through, there’s very likely someone worse off.

I can’t say all the details on here, but in a nutshell this is it. I work with a lot of LLM students, more so now in my new role at work.  LLMs are students who have been foreign-trained, and already have one law degree. The LLM degree is a master’s in law.

Anyway, I remember thinking when I saw this student, that he looked familiar. And I was right.  He started his degree last year, but didn’t finish in the one year that is customary. Long story short, he decided to not return home, and now because his former country is so f….ed up, he likely won’t see his family for at least 5 years.  Can you imagine the stress this kid has been under? (I say “kid” out of habit, but he and I are likely not too far apart in age. And he’s probably light years ahead of me in maturity based on what he’s experienced.)

This is a student who had to defer acceptance to our school for at least three years. Each year, the school said he could come. And each year, his country said “nope, you can’t leave.”  It’s quite difficult, if not downright impossible, for me to know what that feels like. I’ve been able to move freely ever since I was born.

This student is someone who immediately humbled me and when I said to him “thank you for helping me put my troubles in perspective,” he apologized. This is a student who, no matter how little money he has, still tries to send something home to his family, because he feels like they need it more than he does.

This is a kid who I definitely want to help.   And made me feel glad for asking to have certain responsibilities taken off of my plate last week so I could work with more LLM students like him. They work so hard, and are grateful for any opportunity they have to learn.  He asked me to be tough with him this year, and make him work hard to get his paper done so he can graduate. Well, ok! I can make him work hard!:-)  I really want to see this kid graduate next May.

Can you imagine what it’d be like to not be able to see your family for 6 years, and not because you don’t want to, but because some idiotic government says you can’t?!

I’m so glad to be an American, that’s for sure.