My Goodness Story: Compassion
In the field that I landed in, special education, there are billions of stories that come to mind involving compassion for others. But, the first time I really remember my compassion for others shining through happened during my sophomore year of high school. I was never the best at science in school, so starting new science-based classes always made me nervous. Yet, my nerves were immediately subsided when I saw that Andy was in my biology class.
Andy was a lower-functioning student with multiple disabilities; Even after years in the field, I still cannot even pinpoint what his diagnosis was. He was a chubby, short, Asian kid with glasses, impeccable style, and an overly-energetic personality. Andy was widely known throughout the school but not in a popular way. He was mostly known for talking so fast that you could not understand what he was saying and booking people in the hallway then running away while cackling loudly because he thought it was so funny.
I don’t recall people being mean to Andy, but I don’t remember people being nice to him either. I just don’t think that people knew how to deal with him or understood his disability. I think, more than anything, people were too annoyed with his antics to even try to get to know him. But, I was intrigued by him in every sense of the way. So, when I walked into Biology and saw him sitting by himself, with no aide, mind you, I took the seat next to him without even questioning it.
I ended up being lab partners with him for the entire semester. Even when partners switched at the quarter, I stayed by Andy’s side. Day in and day out, he would build a folder fort around his desk so that he would have a reason to play peek-a-boo with me over the top of the walls, but I didn’t care. Andy brightened my day and I looked forward to our time together, even if he didn’t even know my name.
I am not sure how much biology I learned that semester, but I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am really good at sticking up for people who present differently than your average human. I learned how to befriend people who need the upmost support. I learned that I am patient as hell and understanding of others. But, most of all, I learned that it is in unsuspecting situations that you take the most away from.