I never liked depending on anyone. Growing up the first kid in a Filipino household, you are never really raised up to believe nor to think that you need anyone but yourself. It can be a lonely existence sometimes but when you’ve been at it for more than 17 years you get used to it.
I remember it like it hadn’t happened two years ago. Calling my freshman year difficult would have truly been an understatement. As a former humanities and social sciences student, going to a business school felt as foreign as learning a new language. I didn’t know the terms, I had never touched excel more than once in my four years of high school. My brain was just not wired that way.
This story takes place during my first set of midterm exams. I had managed to fake my confidence till the very last minute but as I sat there on my bed staring at a math equation I just can’t seem to do, my tears started to uncontrollably fall. I had managed to keep my resolve sound and unbreakable until that moment of crippling self-doubt and negativity started to plague my mind.
My high school best friend and roommate at the time sat beside me giving our math syllabus a go herself and as much as I wanted to open my mouth and ask for help, nothing came out. All that came out of me were tears instead of the words “I need your help.” Before she could notice the mess I had become and before the sobs could escape my mouth and get her attention, I excused myself for a moment.
I stayed there in the hallway of my first apartment, clutching my chest as sobs wracked through me. All the doubt and worry and the dreaded thought that I wasn’t supposed to be here slowly sunk in and it was one of the most horrible feelings in the world. The events between the sobbing and when I had picked up the phone became blurry; all I know is before I knew it, I was sobbing into my phone listening to a very panicked voice on the other side.
“Oh my god Macey, what’s happening?” I opened my mouth but all that came out were sobs and deep breaths.
“Where are you?” amidst everything I managed to wrench out a very quiet reply.
“At home.” I was rendered a blubbering mess once again after I replied. The dial tone was a deafening sound. He had hung up.
My sobs got louder and out of my fear of making too much noise I started to make my way to bus stop 163. The bus stop right outside our building served as my calm place, it let me feel the wind and watch the night sky. My legs wobbled as I made my way down our stairs, putting all my faith in luck. I hoped that I wouldn’t trip since I could barely see through my tears. I kept my eyes glued to my feet in hopes that no one else would notice my steady stream of tears.
“Macey!” shock washed over me as I raised my head.
There he stood, right by the benches of bus stop 163. At the moment I realized two things: 1. How ridiculously cliché this moment was and how eerily close it felt to some cheesy scene in a rom-com and 2. I had asked for help and someone came.
That dreaded night later turned into one of the most memorable acts of kindness I had ever experienced in my life. It reminded me of something my uncle had always told me growing up, “when you care about someone you show up for them, no excuses.” I had always taken that with me as something to do for the people that I held dearly. It was only then that I had realized that it also meant having people show up for me. We don’t realize it but the small things we do for people can go a longer way than we would ever know.
If you ever read this, I just want you to know that you stopped me from believing that business school wasn’t for me, and for that, I am deeply grateful. A simple act of kindness helped save me from a failed subject and improved my worldview of my current position in the universe. I’m still not the best at math (shocker, I know), but I have slowly gotten better. Thank you for giving me the confidence to try to get better.