Karen, I have no idea if you remember me (frankly I'd be surprised if you did, it's been so many years).
I attended SRJC in 91-93 (roughly in there). I was a floundering art major who didn't plan on going to University until you got in my business about it. I think I met you initially because I was friends with a girl (XX) who had attempted suicide and you were her academic counselor. So I went to talk to you to let you know she'd be missing classes and you were the first person who asked how I was doing about the whole thing! So I started going to you for my academic counseling.
Anyway, you were pretty much the only person encouraging me to continue my education. My parents were fundamentalist Christians who didn't believe in helping me financially with school (they didn't think I should go, and had said that if God wanted me to go, he would provide). Needless to say, it was a real struggle for me to even find it within myself to complete the process for loans and pursue a transfer to one of the UCs. But you encouraged me and helped me to fill out all the paperwork and get the transfer agreement process started.
It had honestly never occurred to me that I might be good enough to go to a University or even a State college--I had never even taken the SATs or planned on getting a degree (I remember you saying "you have a 3.9 GPA...you're smart!"). I truly didn't think I would ever be able to do that. I ended up graduating with honors, too, in 1995, in spite of a lot of family problems during that time. I really have you to thank for it.
I recently had the opportunity to walk around SRJC while on a visit back to CA (I live in Denver now). I thought of you, of course, and wondered if you were still there, or if I could find your info to thank you. Anyway, I know you may feel you've got a thankless job sometimes, but I just want to let you know you changed my life.
If you're reading this and you have the chance to touch the life of a student, remember that you have no idea the difference a little encouragement could make.
(I'll also add that while she probably thought my year spent at the Bible college was a waste, and couldn't understand how my parents could take the stance they did, she never let that color her judgment or how she spoke to me about them. She didn't understand it or my faith, but she respected that I wasn't at a place where I was able to fully question the reality in which I'd been raised. I really appreciate her for that. Sometimes it's not in someone's best interests to try to shake all their foundations loose; sometimes all that's needed is a nudge in the right direction--they'll figure it out over time at the pace that's right for them.)