Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Switch

Something about a situation one of my university students is dealing with reminds me of a college friend.

Colleen had gone blind as a teenager due to diabetes. She recruited me to help her study for her French class by reading the textbook to her. I readily obliged because I was taking a similar class and thought it might help me be more disciplined about studying.

As the semester progressed, Colleen's health degenerated, again due to diabetes. I continued to study with her even after she went into the hospital. Eventually it became clear that she was too sick to finish the course. But we still studied together.

Then one day, she just let go of studying French. We stopped working and simply hung out together. It's like a switch flipped in her mind and she knew she wasn't going to recover so there was no point. Not long after that, she passed away.

My student is not dealing with a life or death issue, but I worry that in his mind he might believe he's lost all chance of completing his degree. I'm hoping the switch doesn't flip.

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