I’ve never really thought that the school system was on my side when it came to a lot of things. I thought of the education system as a revolving door: one goes in and another goes out. But then, I was struck with something and put in a situation I had no idea how to handle. I thought of someone I could go to for this problem and who would take action. I thought of one trustworthy teacher, but it didn’t seem like a problem for the teacher, and I didn’t want to bug them about my problems. But then I remembered the guidance counselors in our school. There was one I was familiar with that I felt I trusted.

I sat in her office the next day, panic-stricken from the night’s events, and waited to ask for her help. When she finally got in that morning, I told her about how I was put into a scary and difficult situation where I didn’t know what action to take without someone getting hurt. She sat and spoke with me about how the events that were occurring were not my fault, and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. She made me feel like I was doing something right when all I felt was that I was doing something wrong.

It’s a comforting feeling, knowing that you matter to someone. What was even more comforting, though, was realizing that I wasn’t alone. The guidance councilor barely knew me, yet she handled my problem with such care and understanding, explaining the way she would help resolve it. In a small town where you feel so isolated and alone, it was a very much-needed thing. Our talk ended with me wiping my eyes and looking in my phone’s camera to see if my makeup ran. She laughed and said, “Don’t worry, everything is still in place. You look good.” It was a simple thing to say, but in that moment, it was something unbelievably uplifting. People like her are the reason why I enjoy my school more, the reason why I sometimes wake up happy to go to school. She gave me the optimistic outlook: I may have cried my eyes out that day, but at least my makeup game was dang strong.

—White Mountains Regional High School