I don't like disappointing people I look up to, admire, respect, etc. Even worse, I don't like wondering whether or not a person I view in this light likes me or finds me annoying.
It's been awhile since I've been in an environment where I've had mentors, so I've been enjoying that aspect while being back in school for sure. There are about 4 or 5 people that I deeply respect and hope that I can continue looking to for mentorship long after I've graduated from Cal.
I received one of the biggest compliments from a mentor the other day and it completely made my day, really my week. I can't recall ever having a mentor or someone I looked up to and admired in the military, tell me personally what they thought of me. It usually came from another person they told, so I'd find out second hand.
In class, we had a guest speaker come and talk to us about leadership. The guest speaker is someone I fortunately had the opportunity of meeting fall semester because he spoke at the deCal I assisted my friend with. There was a moment where he played a video of a dog greeting its owner who was returning from a long deployment. It's a fun, heart warming video and it's always sweet to see reunions like that, but with reality setting in that it was something I'd be experiencing again with Dan going back to the flightline, it caught me off guard and I couldn't help by cry silently to myself. He asked the class what we thought of the video and instead of my internal voice speaking in my head, I blurted out that I hated the video because it was about to be my reality.
It brought the mood down in the class. I could feel my classmates feeling sorry for me or maybe being shocked to hear that someone they are in school with would be experiencing this first hand. The mood shifted back and he carried on with his presentation. It bugged me the rest of the day that I did that, I couldn't help but feel bad for being rude, disrespectful, and possibly taking away from his talk. I emailed both the guest speaker and my mentor, the professor of the class.
My mentor responded and said he'd hoped I didn't feel to strongly, followed by a huge compliment. I was shocked, flattered, relieved, and honored. Last semester, I often worried that he didn't like me, that he probably thought I was annoying. It got to me because I respect and admire him so much. Reading his words and of course talking it over with my husband afterwards was like a sigh of relief. I no longer had to worry whether or not the professor I'd hoped would be my mentor beyond graduation. It was a strange, yet amazing feeling to know how he viewed me.
I'm going to save that email for the rest of my life.