For many years, I was the professor for numerous college students, and one year I had the pleasure of meeting a very bright and talented student, that was very motivated and engaged in the class. She often had the highest scores in the class and was always smiling. She even won a national academic competition, and I was her advisor.
Then suddenly she started missing classes, at first, the absences were rare and far in between, then they become more frequent until she stopped coming all together. I asked her friends to learn what was happening with her but they didn’t know either. They told me that she had grown apart a long time ago to be with her boyfriend, who had also stopped studying altogether.
After many years, I met her at a store in which she was working as a cashier. I greeted her warmly, embraced her and asked her about how is her life going?
She started crying, and told me:
“I made a grave mistake, I fell in love with a boy who was doing drugs. I thought that I would be able to change him, he always told me that he could stop using drugs whenever he wanted, that he had done it before and will do so again. Then he incited me into using drugs, at first it was a sporadic occurrence and then they became everything for me. I stopped caring about my family, school, eating, my personal appearance, or my faith. Drugs wrecked my life and my mental and physical health. This is why I stopped studying. When the money ran out, he pressured me into prostituting myself. With that money, we bought drugs for the two of us. Then he started dealing drugs, until one day he never returned. I was told that he had been killed.
Soon after I realized that I was pregnant, and it was then that I decided to stop using drugs.
It was very difficult, and the anguish and despair that I felt are impossible to put into words. I sought help from my church and other support groups, and I was lucky to found someone who understood what I was going on and that help me to overcome it.
I spent some time working as a maid, washing clothes and taking care of the elderly. Now, I am working as a cashier earning minimum wage and barely having enough to eat, clothing, medicines and other essential needs for my son.
All my peers from college are already working on their careers and completed their degrees. I am ashamed of them seeing me working as a cashier, and I regret not completing my education.
Please tell your students to be very careful of the people they bring into their lives. A bad company may stray them from their path, and ruin their lives as it happened to me. My son is the one who saved me if it was not for him I would probably be doing all sorts of things to get some drugs. I am going to take good care of him, give him advice, and be ever vigilant to help him succeed in life.”
Then we said our goodbyes with tears in our eyes, and since then every time that I see some of my students with others that may be bad company, I worry for them, and talk to them from the bottom of my heart trying to advise them, to keep them from falling into a trap, one which is almost impossible to overcome when being dragged by a bad friend that only wants to see them fail.
This is why I worry for all of you, I have seen many students that start well striving to succeed in school and then they get lost when they meet other students that have behavioral problems and are defiant of authority. They start missing their classes, not doing their homework and getting into trouble themselves. I pray for you every night, and I ask God to protect you, to enlighten you to choose well, and for us as teachers and administrators to give us the wisdom to protect you from bad influences and to help you all to be successful in your life.