I was cleaning out my purse.
It was a normal occurrence. As a college student, it’s easy to get bogged down with the Target tags ripped hastily off over-sized sweaters that resulted from the impulse buy after the last failed test, the Starbucks receipts that demonstrated just how deep the self-medicating went, and the used tissues that proved your immune system was in the toilet from lack of sleep and the anxiety that gnawed at your temples.
Amid the scraps of white, there was a mint green envelope.
I opened it, a wish for an unused gift card burning in my greedy eyes as I slipped the card out.
“I couldn’t have done this without you!”
“Your future shines brightly and I can’t wait to see what you do!“
“You are the only reason I passed this class. An absolute God-send.”
Amidst the gentle loops of the mom’s handwriting that spread significant surface area of the card were small pockets of neat notes written by students who had clearly learned how to write notes efficiently. Even the word choice indicated that they had cleverly picked words that needed few details.
“You’re the best tutor ever!”
“Thanks for all your time spent teaching us!”
“You are a great friend and an even better tutor!”
Nursing students are always the most encouraging because they know what it’s like to never receive themselves.
I don’t do what I do for the money — part-time wages aren’t nearly enough for the services that tutors provide. I also don’t do what I do for the credit — the grades are entered under the student’s name, not my own. I don’t do what I do for the pure enjoyment of it — sometimes you just have to smile and explain to that jerk for the fifth time that you didn’t design the calculator and you don’t know why the parentheses buttons are where they are.
Sometimes I can convince myself that I enjoy helping people and I enjoy my job. But sometimes, and this is one of those days, I have no idea.
That’s the thing about nursing students. Most of them still enjoy what they do. As a tutor, the last thing I should become is apathetic.
And yet, here I am.
I put the card back in the envelope and put the envelope back in my purse.