A Tribute to WSP

Tenth week, Friday – lots of lasts for me today.

I’m graduating next week, so today marks my last official school day at UCLA. This also marks my last official day as a Writing and Creativity Counselor for WSP. A year ago I would never have imagined myself as a Writing Counselor – now I can’t imagine myself as anything else.

There’s a popular quote (apparently by Confucius, but no one really knows) that says, “Choose a job that you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I think I finally understand what that means. But my experience with WSP would not have been nearly as fulfilling if I hadn’t been a part of such an incredible team. And so, as my last post on the Waterhole, I thought it fitting to use my final creative piece as a farewell to my fellow bloggers and staff – Layhannara, Gaby, Haesoo, Monica, Pegah, Rosalva, and Kent. Thank you for making my WSP experience a positive one.

To Layhannara –

Thank you thank you thank you for all of your hard work as WSP’s director. You’ve been everything a director should be and more – professional and playful, responsible and flexible, considerate, passionate, progressive. You’re the perfect balance of a leader and a friend. Thank you for being such an incredible role model. When I enter the workforce, I only hope that my next supervisor will be as great as you. (You’ve set the bar pretty high though.)

To Gaby –

I know you’ve doubted yourself as AD this year, but I think you’ve been an amazing Assistant Director. I admire how persistent and diligent you’ve been and how much you’ve invested in WSP, despite having to balance your time between three jobs. You emulate Layhannara’s leadership style in that you know when to be serious, but you also know how to be silly and have fun. I feel comfortable around you, which I think says a lot about your character. You’re full of life, brimming with creative energy – and you also have such a refreshing sense of humor! I have high hopes for you as a writer, as an educator, and as a bread maker (though I’ve never had the chance to taste your bread – if I quit this gluten-free thing, I’ll visit you and Josh in the valley and force you to feed me your bread.)

To Monica –

I remember the first time I saw you at a Word on Wednesdays meeting last year. I remember thinking, “she has such a fun laugh.” And I still think that! Your laugh is so vibrant and full and bright and it fills the entire room. I want to take it and put it in my pocket. Since you joined winter quarter, staff meetings and retreats and outings have been a lot more buoyant and high-spirited with you on the team. I also really admire how passionate you are about whatever space you immerse yourself in and how active you are about advancing the rights of underrepresented communities. I can only hope to be that passionate about a cause one day. And by the way, I’m obsessed with your hair! I’ve always wanted hair as full and voluminous as yours. Flaunt it for as long as you live.

To Haesoo –

I’ll never forget the session we had together where you showed me the first chapter from your book. It was one of my favorite sessions this year! Your story has a lot of potential – please don’t ever give up on it! It’d be a shame if people didn’t get a taste of your fantasy-fiction world. And I didn’t just enjoy having you as a counselee, but as my Communications Coordinator too. You really took on that role and its responsibilities head first – and you embraced it. Thank you for putting in so much time and concentrated effort into everyone’s blog posts, always working to ensure that The Waterhole is the best it can be. WSP is lucky to have you on board for another year. 🙂

To Pegah –

First off, Pegah, you are so beautiful! Please don’t ever doubt that you are. You’re beautiful in every single way, inside and out. You’ve truly been such an inspiration to me this year – I’ve met very few people who work as hard and as diligently as you do. I admire your organization, your persistence, your steadfastness, and above all, I admire how much you invest into WSP. I can tell that you care about what WSP does and stands for with all of your heart. Your future students – whether it be in Japan or in the U.S. – are super duper lucky to have you as their teacher because I know that they will be as positively influenced by your character as I was.

To Rosalva –

The first time we met, I remember making a big deal about not knowing how to correctly pronounce your name. I want to apologize for that – I really hope I didn’t make you insecure about it because your name is so lovely and unique and honest and encompasses you so well. Like your name, I think people are drawn to you – to your energy, to your character, and to your sense of humor. You’re definitely one of the funniest people I know! And you’re not only one of the funniest, but one of the strongest too. I can tell that you’ve been through a lot and have worked incredibly hard to get where you are today. I’m super grateful to have been your teammate.

To Kent –

Thank you for never failing to entertain me. Just when I think there’s nothing else you can do that will surprise me, you prove me wrong with another one of your wild, classic-Kent stories. I care about you a lot – as a co-worker, but more importantly, as a friend. I didn’t expect the two of us to get along when we first met, but I’m really happy we did. You’re one of a kind, true to yourself, and overall just a pleasure to be around. You remind me of one of those vodka-soaked maraschino cherries – full of flavor, packed with a punch, mildly sweet with a hint of salty. And I don’t think I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I’m in love with your poetry. It’s straightforward, it’s accessible, and it’s powerful. You’re born to be a poet – don’t let that talent go to waste!! I expect a signed, personal copy of your poetry sent to me once it’s published.

 

And finally, to my students (if any of you are reading this) – I have learned so much during our sessions. Thank you for being patient with me, for being humble and considerate and grateful. Thank you for never failing to remind me how blessed I am to be a Writing and Creativity Counselor.

 

Though I’ve only been able to spend a year working for WSP, my experience has been, without a doubt, the highlight of my college experience. I’ve developed as a leader, as a writer, as a friend, and as a person. The skills and memories and relationships I have gained through WSP will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Julia

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