This One Goes to 5-3

Erin Lang - Senegal


October 1, 2010

To Room 5-3 and Mrs. Jackson (2009-2010)

I want to let you in on a secret.

Perfection is not possible.  Age is not always an accurate measure of potential or inner strength.  And sometimes, failure IS the only option in becoming stronger.

For a year, I worked under Mrs. Jackson as your Student Teacher.  Although I was seen as a teacher by all of you, to many people, I was still a student.  Just because I was always teaching you about rules and structure did not mean that I wasn’t still learning about rules and structure as well.  I want you to understand, school does not end after high school, or even college.  Life is a school, those around you are the teachers, and you are the student.  When you fail an Algebra test or make your parents angry, you have not failed in life.  That is not the end.  You know why?  Because when you fall down, all you have to do is pick yourself up and start over again.  But, don’t stop there.  Find out what went wrong.  Search for a solution.  Ask questions.  Do not fear labels and judgement, but rather, overcome them.

Since I have been away from home, getting ready for my year in Africa, I have been recovering from my many failures throughout my life.  But what I have learned here that I had never discovered before is that all of my mistakes play a role in my future; my destiny.

There are two different roads I could have gone down after overcoming my failures:

1.  I could have learned from my mistakes, and carried a chip on my shoulder for reaching my goals and improving myself.  I could have scorned ignorance, mocked those behind me in life, laughed in the face of failure, and a result, stepped on those who were already down.

-OR-

2.  I could have used my understanding of failure and loss to help others.  I could have encouraged curiosity and learning, believed in others’ knowledge, and had faith in those who are searching for faith in themselves.

As I sit here now, in California, awaiting my time to leave for Senegal, I want you all to know that my time with Global Citizen Year has helped my pick the second option, without a doubt.  And I also want all of you to know that every single one of you holds a strong place in my heart.  You are a huge part of the reason that I am who I am today.  I believe that each of you is capable of reaching your dreams.  Keep your eyes on the things that matter.  Never accept failure as defeat. You each inspire me in a unique way.

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond meausure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…

– Marianne Williamson

Erin Lang