I was thinking recently about a resident counselor I had in college. She was always a support to me and all the other girls she had to keep an eye on. But one memory stands out about how she went above and beyond for me.
It was my senior year and just days before my graduation. My college graduation felt very underwhelming to me. I had finished four years of college and could not wait to be done and move on with whatever was next. It was bittersweet. It would be the first “big moment” that neither of my parents would be there to see. My mom had been gone for 6 years and my dad had passed away in January of that same year. My graduation was just a few days after my 22nd birthday.
My resident counselor cleared me from my classes and final exams and took a friend and me into the city to play for the day. She told us she needed to run by the mall. I thought nothing of it. Once inside she told me that for my birthday she was going to get me a graduation dress. Looking at my good friend’s face, I knew she was in on this surprise. While I had other dresses I could have worn for my graduation, it meant a lot to me that she thought how hard this time must have been for me. To have it be my first birthday with no parents at all, and to know that I was accepting my diploma with no parents watching in the audience. It felt right to have a new dress for the occasion and, while I was slightly embarrassed, I went with it. We found a dress and then went to eat and be together. I do not remember much about that birthday with them, but I remember the dress and how loved I felt.
I had family at my graduation. My grandma, sister, brother, and my mom’s cousin were all there. Great friends came from Michigan to see me and witness this big day in my life, but it was still hard. There were definitely moments where I felt like this is not the way my college graduation was supposed to go. In many ways I wanted it to be over as fast as possible. Sometimes we never know how much a gesture of kindness can matter to someone else.
I still remember the exact dress I picked out that day.