Why You Should Always Try To Catch The Bus

A person sitting on a city bus in the early morning sunWritten by: Johann Cardenas, 2nd Year Bioinformatics 

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

Sometimes the smallest interactions can have the most profound impact on a person's life. We don't always recognize how a few passing words can be remembered for years, and even influence one's perspective forever. One short exchange with a stranger years ago still affects me to this day, despite him never even knowing my name.

It was the fall of 10th grade. I wasn't having the greatest semester. I felt like my friends from elementary school were beginning to drift apart and form their own friend groups, while I was being left alone. When I tried to talk to other students, I felt like I couldn't relate to anyone, and was a complete outsider. On top of that, my classes were beginning to get more difficult, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork I had on my plate. Worst of all, I had to catch the city bus to school every morning, and I was constantly on the verge of lateness.

I remember one morning I was a few minutes late for the bus and ran frantically out the door and down my street. When I turned the corner however, I saw that the bus was already driving down the street to my left, and there was no way I could make it to the bus stop a few blocks up the road in time. Defeated, I resigned myself to go back home and wait for the next one. However, just as I turned my back, I heard the brakes of the wheels screech, and the door of the bus squeak open. The bus had stopped for me.

Confused yet relieved, I boarded the bus and thanked the bus driver profusely. In my mind I was just relieved I didn't have to go to the front office to pick up a late slip. But as I scanned my bus pass, he said three words: "Don't give up." I knew that he was just referring to catching the bus, but I felt like he was speaking deeply and personally to me. At that point in my life, I felt the urge to give up on everything: high school, my friends, and life in general were just becoming too overwhelming. I felt like I was doomed to failure, and my life was completely outside of my control. But that piece of advice, combined with the kindness of a stranger, invigorated me. I realized that I had control over my own life, and it was too soon to give up; if I put in the effort, I could build the life that I wanted.

From that point onward, those three words have always been in the back of my mind. They have been especially useful to help me thrive during my time at Western, because they serve as a reminder to work towards my goals and maintain a positive mindset. Whenever things seem hopeless, I resolve myself to never give up. That doesn't mean I never occasionally feel like I did in the 10th grade, but it means that when I do, I know I can change things for the better. And when I try to catch the bus, I always run for it. Always.

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