March 17 wasn't just St. Patrick's Day, it was Match Day for medical schools around the country. My young friend, a girl when I first met her and began tutoring her in writing, is now a poised young woman graduating from medical school this spring. She got matched with UCSF in pediatrics, a real prize for her. I have helped dozens of young people in the past 30 years and I have maintained contact with many of them so there are already doctors and lawyers and engineers who have ties to me somehow, but this young woman has reached her primary goal of becoming a doctor despite everything stacked against her.
She was born in the US but to a mother who barely speaks English and consequently has only had very low paying jobs since emigrating from Vietnam. My young friend respected her mother and wanted to fulfill her dreams. Too many of us take our "gifts" lightly or give up too easily when the going gets tough. My friend is a shining example of hope and dreams and work all coming together.
Another of my former tutees has written a book. Part of his acknowledgments in the book is to me as he always swears that I am the reason he has achieved so much, including meeting his wife. While I think that is a tad overblown, I am nevertheless delighted that my avocation has improved the lives and vocations of so many young people. Sometimes I feel as though I am a waste of oxygen but this week feels good.