People Confess Which Experiences Absolutely Broke Them
We've all had experiences which left us sad or despondent.
A friend moving away, the loss of a pet, missing out on a promotion.
While these experiences often result in our feeling the need to drown out our feelings in some capacity, we know deep down that we'll eventually bounce back.
Some experiences, however, take a bit longer to recover from, if we manage to recover from them at all.
The sort of experiences which, for lack of a better term, break us.
Redditor Vanguard2002 was curious to hear from people who went through experiences that truly broke them, leading them to ask:
"What’s something that mentally and/or emotionally broke you?"
The Death Of A Spouse
"My wife's death."
"We both knew her cancer was terminal from the beginning, and I had seven years to make my peace with that."
"As the end neared, I assured everyone I'd be fine."
"Despite all that, seeing her stop breathing was a total shock to me."
"And I even knew she'd die that very night."
"When you've been with dying people, you can tell when it's their last day."
"It's been six years, and I'm still grieving her."- jefuchs
A Child With Substance Abuse Problems
"My oldest son became addicted to opioids and ODed in our home 4 times."
"The first time our youngest found him from the death rattle sounds. I'll never forget giving him CPR."
"I'll never forget an OD that put him in the ICU, non responsive with a breathing tube due to heart atrophy."
"He is 2 years now sober with clinic MAT help and his own tenacity."
"We are all scarred for his time in active addiction but time is letting this wound heal."- level 1pnutbutta4me
Death Of A Grandparent
"I could honestly give a lot of things that have f*cked me up, but I’ve bounced back from most of them."
"The one thing that broke me entirely last year was the death of my grandfather."
"He’d had a stroke around April 2021."
"April 1st, 2022 he had to be rushed to the hospital."
"I dropped everything to go see him."
"I’d been pretty close with him growing up."
"My grandparents raised me and my sister and he and I used to go to Gettysburg together a lot."
"He was in the hospital all of April, with declining health."
"We would visit all the time."
"He developed sepsis, and we wanted to move him to hospice, but by the end of the month even moving him would probably kill him."
"April 28th, it was my first week at a new job and my aunt texted that we should all hurry over to the hospital because they didn’t think there was much time."
"I left work and stayed at the hospital with my family all day."
"The nurses let us break Covid protocol and all stay in the room as long as we were quiet."
"We all had gowns, masks, and gloves anyway because he had sepsis."
"At that point, he was practically in a coma."
"We thought he would pass that day but he didn’t, and when it came time for me to leave I knew it would be the last time I’d see him alive."
"I sobbed so much I almost threw up, and it was almost impossible to drag me out."
"The next day, he was gone."
"The following week was the funeral and viewing."
"The viewing broke me too."
"I cried so much those days, especially when we had to close the casket for the funeral."
"We all left little things for him to be buried with."
"Cherry chapstick, Guinness, and a little alligator plush I’d brought."
"I have the matching one."
"He always used to say, 'See you later, alligator' and I would say, 'After a while crocodile'.”
"So now I always tell him 'See you later, alligator' at his grave, as that’s what I told him before he died, and before they buried him."
"April 29th this year will mark the first full year he’s been gone."
"I’ve never handled death well, so it still hurts a lot."
"But he was in so much pain, and I know he went peacefully and he’s not suffering anymore."
"He believed in Heaven, and that’s where I hope he is."- Appropriate-Fox2381
Death Of A Parent
"Hearing my mom ask if it was going to hurt to die."
"Few mins later she took her last breath."
"Squeezed my hand and a slow release."
"Am I okay?"
"A year and a half later I’m still not."- Mysterious_Window575
"I was in therapy and was nervous about my child’s upcoming birthday party because of serious anxiety issues."
"She told me to imagine the worst thing happening and when the party is over I would realize everything was ok."
"Day of birthday party I received an out of state call from a coroner."
"My mom was found dead in her apartment."
"An investigation occurred but it was determined she had a diabetic episode, hit her head on the kitchen counter, bled out and died."
"An hour later my friend arrived, hysterically crying indicating she just got a call HER mom died."
"I was numb and broken."
"Life has never been the same since."- EverywhereINowhere
Finding Someone Died
"When I found my fiancé dead on the ground after I came home from work."
"I was 22 at the time and it broke me in all the ways."- caramelcoldbrew·
"Finding my twin brother dead."- No-Contribution-469
Illness In The Family
"Having a mother with schizophrenia."
"Such a tough illness for someone to experience, and tough on a family."- Eeahsnp18
When The Child Becomes The Parent
"Filing my dad's bankruptcy, getting him diagnosed for early onset alzheimer's/dementia, and being his primary caregiver."
"It completely reverses the father/son role in a way I was not prepared for."
"Better now, but still is heartbreaking."- Snoogles150
"I was misdiagnosed for 2 years."
"Told I had anorexia when really I had Crohn's disease."
"It got to the point where my bowel ruptured and I was very, very close to death."
"2 years of being told this very, VERY physical pain was all in my head has caused endless knock on affects."
"I remember just laying there as the paramedics couldn't find much of a pulse and thinking 'I'm dying but at least I was right' which is all kinds of f*cked up."- goosedrinkwine369
Love Cut Short
"My fiancée died the day after we got engaged."
"She was fine, then sick, then gone in less than 24 hours."
"She died of meningitis."
"We spent an awesome day together while she was back in town from college and I asked her that afternoon."
"Later, she said her legs were going numb and her back hurt."
"We went to the hospital because they had just had a whole presentation about the symptoms of meningitis at her school."
"The doctor did some tests and said everything was negative l, so they sent us home."
"We went to bed thinking everything would be fine."
"I woke up sometime around 2am and looked at her."
"She was covered in sweat and turning blue so I picked her up and carried her to the car."
"We hauled @ss back to the ER, but she stopped breathing before we got there and didn’t regain consciousness again."
"At least I was holding her hand the whole way."
"The doctor did say they got her heart started a couple of times, but all of her organs failed, and her body completely shut down so they had to call it."
"Later, they asked if I wanted the ring."
"But they said they had to cut it off because her body had swollen so much."
"I told them to keep it because I wouldn’t have been able to handle what it meant if it was in one piece."
"I’m as alright as I get."
"Lately I’ve been thinking about our first days more than the last one."
"It’s hard to tell if that makes it better or worse, though."
"Relationships are hard."
"Anytime things get too good; there’s a compulsion to pull away for self-preservation."
"There’s no making it through of another round of that."-
Some experiences are so painful that the very thought of moving on seems impossible.
Next time you find yourself struggling to get out of bed, however, always know that even if you have trouble finding the words, there are always people eager and willing to listen.
Everyone looks back on their high school experience differently.
Some wish they could relive it all over again, while others are more than happy to put it all behind them and seldom, if ever, look back on it.
Of course, no matter if they look back on high school with pleasure or disdain, everyone has a few memories of their classmates.
Particularly the one who always seemed to be getting into trouble.
Constantly landing themselves in detention and, in more severe cases, landing themself in trouble with the authorities.
Some of these students thankfully grew out of their bullying days and have grown and learned to treat others with respect and kindness. Others were not so lucky, and still found themselves getting into trouble long after their school days were over.
"Who was the worst student in your high school, & what did they do that was so bad?
The Beginning Of The End...
"There was a kid who walked up to the pencil sharpener and set the substitute teacher's hair on fire from behind her with a cigarette lighter and then claimed sparks had flown out of the light switch."
"He's in prison for other stuff now."- isfrying
Lucky The Room Was Empty...
"I knew a lot of sh*tty people back in school, but I think the guys who dropped a whole desk out of a third-story window onto some kid qualify as the worst, purely because I think that qualifies as an attempted murder."- WixedEcho
Doesn't Exactly Scream True Love...
"The boy that put a pipe bomb into another kid's locker because he talked to the girl the original boy liked."
"He went to a juvenile program and then disappeared."- dreamermom2
The Demon Student Of High School...
"A girl at my school took the ashes of her recently deceased grandfather."
"Baked it into cookies and handed the cookies out amongst her classmates."
"Nine students had eaten them before she revealed the urn and told them what she did."- FiddlerofSticks
What A Waste, So Close To The End...
"He put LSD in a teacher's drink and they tripped."
"12th grade, he got arrested as he should have."- Amy_OZ
How Did He Even Get The Job?
"Not me, but my daughter and her female friends in 9th grade."
"There was a boy who was disturbed who was making threats to the girls in his classes."
"The girls told me he had photos of dead animals he'd killed."
"Anyway, for whatever reason, my daughter felt like telling me about it for the first time well into the school year, like in November or so."
"I had no idea this was going on until then."
"I called the teacher first, who was a man, and he was afraid of this kid."
"Teacher said to call the principal and gave me his number."
"Principal said, and I quote: 'Lady I have 1200 students to deal with on a daily basis'."
"'I can't be worried about whether your daughter is safe at school'."
"Which was the wrong thing to say, bc it obviously pissed me off."
"He said that he put this kid and my daughter alone in a room and told them to essentially kiss and make up."
"Called the superintendent next, who was incredibly bowled over by the incompetence of the principal."
"He told me to call the police."
"Which was too late because I had already taken my daughter and 3 of her friends to the police to make reports and file for a restraining order."
"The next day the principal called to apologize, from the phone in the superintendent's office."
"The kid was removed from the classes with all of these girls, which was next to impossible."
"And less than a week was removed from the school."
"I think my daughter said that he's in prison now."- floridianreader
Some People Can Turn Their Lives Around
"Not the worst student but craziest thing to happen was freshman year this kid got caught using a keylogger to steal teacher's gradebook logins to sell grade changes."
"He was also stealing credit card info."
"Ran into him a few years ago and he actually graduated Harvard and is in real estate now."- AbortionCrow
Bad Decisions Have Consequences
Bullied other kids mercilessly."
"Stole cigarettes & alcohol from shops, to sell to other kids for cash he'd use to buy weed."
"A few years after high school him and 2 of his closest mates were hooning in their sh*tbox on the highway, playing Chicken."
"It was night time and they had their lights turned off, and they were driving on the wrong side of the road with the intent to make other people flinch & dodge before they had to."
"Other driver didn't even know they were there & just drove a straight path."
"So because of that the other driver obviously didn't dodge or deviate, forcing them to flinch and they dodged off the side of a road, right into a huge Gum Tree."
"All 3 killed instantly 140+kmph impact on a hardwood tree."
"Small rural area so the whole town grieved over the 'tragic loss of 3 young lives' but single kid who grew up around them knew better than to call it a tragedy."
"Glad the other driver didn't see them & suffer their fate."
"Gladder that they're gone."- Pharya
Some People Simply Never Learn From Their Mistakes
"One of the rich families kid was just 100% incapable of driving safely at all."
"We're talking at the age of 16 has already totaled 3 cars."
"His parents kept giving him new ones, not cheap ones either, Acura RSX, VW Golf, Subaru WRX."
"The VW and Acura he did nothing but crash them into trees while he had his DRIVING PERMIT - not even a license."
"The First WRX he had a passenger in it and decided to hit another tree."
"Passenger broke his neck but was fine."
"3 months later, parents got him his second WRX."
"Was doing 70+ in a 45 back road with a 2 girls in the car."
"Swerved to avoid a truck pulling into a road, clipped the back corner, spun the car sideways and got T-boned by a box truck/Uhaul."
"It was sad but I'm more outraged at his sh*tty parents."- Saturn_5_speed
One never knows the kind of person your classmates are going to grow up to be.
Though sometimes, you can't help but appreciate that you were right about your instincts to avoid certain people.
Who among us hasn't seen things that made us think we were still asleep?
Sometimes those scary movie moments are a reality.
Once in a while, Michael Myers IS in the shadows.
There are so many unexplainable happenings that leave our nerves wrecked.
As I type this, I swear I can hear moving in the bushes outside.
I'm not in the mood to be terrorized before bed.
Redditor TractorLoving wanted to hear about the things many of us have seen that left us shaken and a bit scared, so they asked:
"What's the most creepy thing you've ever witnessed?"
I've lost track of the number of things that have creeped me out in life.
I barely leave the house.
From the bushes...the lion king disney GIFGiphy
"When I was about 12 I was sleeping on my trampoline with a friend and we heard the bushes move behind us, we flashed our flashlight to the bushes and a mountain lion was laying there stalking us, I have never run so fast in my life."
"Finding my dad dead in his recliner. I swear I heard his voice when the coroner came for his body."
"My granddad knocked over my great-grandma's ashes in his car accidentally, and to this day swears he heard her laugh, loud and clear as if she was standing next to him. She had a hugely wicked sense of humor and would have found this (and my very stressed granddad carefully collecting her ashes back into the container before my grandma saw) very funny."
From the Sea
"When I was serving my time as an engineer in the merchant navy we used to have to clean out what is called 'sea chests;' they're basically big filters for seawater that we would pump in to use as coolant and if the pumps were on when we were dockside we'd find all sorts of things like bottles, fish, crabs etc."
"One day we opened up the chest, pulled out the filter, and immediately saw this gold shiny thing which turned out to be a Rolex watch. Usually, we'd just dump out the filter but with the mitigating circumstances, we went through it thoroughly and found a piece of a shirt with cufflink still attached and last but not least a nicely rotted finger."
"The police ended up closing off the dock and dredging it but never found anything on the end." ~ MarkyBhoy101
TerrifiedWatching I See You GIF by TravisGiphy
"This guy followed me home. Said he saw me there often and named a few local spots I go to sometimes as places he sees me. It’s been about a year. Never saw him again. I was terrified for a little while for sure."
Stay vigilant out there kids.
People are watching and some of us don't notice.
Back Up CreepScared Homer Simpson GIF by reactionseditorGiphy
"I was in a restaurant years ago on lunch break. At the time I was a very thin 25-year-old woman. There was this big creepy guy sitting there who would NOT stop staring at me from the moment I walked in the door."
"I mean just open face staring without blinking for the entire 15 minutes I was eating several seats away. I asked for a box and left early to get away from him. As I walked out he said, 'You shouldn't be out alone. Someone's going to grab you and steal you away." 100% convinced creepazoid had someone locked up in his basement."
'Youth in need'
"Was working in a restaurant. Nice place. That night we held a charity dinner for a 'youth in need' type of house. The guy representing the house, a worker there, was such a nice and kind man. Every teen there was only saying nice things about him. A good soul, that was giving everything he could for these teens."
"At one point they gave a big check to the charity. I must guess an amount they rarely received. Well under the excitement, that poor man had a cardiac arrest. Dropped there on the stage, cheque in hand. He couldn't be brought back. He died. Seeing this was already bad enough, but the kids everywhere in the restaurant screaming and crying for hours after... haunting."
Inside the House
"One random night in middle school I woke up and had the odd feeling that something or someone was present in the house and coming towards my room. I was scared so I closed my eyes to pretend to be asleep. I could faintly hear something come into my room and it felt like someone was standing over me, looking to make sure I was asleep. I laid on my back, eyes shut, until the feeling passed, and ended up falling asleep. I woke up in the morning to find out that our house was robbed."
There in lies the rub...
"Well dressed 50 something business dude on a quiet Chicago L train reading a Wall Street Journal. Pretty woman with long curly hair dozing in the seat in front of him, her hair dangling behind the seat. The guy is rubbing and playing with her hair while reading his paper so I figure she's his wife or girlfriend who just wanted some space to nap."
"He is now intently rubbing and fondling her hair and not reading anymore. Suddenly she snaps awake and pulls in her hair like a bug was in it or something. She gets off at the next stop, he continues reading. They didn't know each other at all."
Why do people feel the need to overshare?
People really need to discuss boundaries.
If someone were to ask us which book we either hated or could not finish, we all have an answer to that question.
There are some books that simply do not work for us, while others stick with us forever.
Redditor Fair_Swing_6461 asked:
"What is the most challenging book you've ever read and why?"
"I have been an avid reader for many years. Thick and difficult books usually don't daunt me. 'Ulysses' by James Joyce has me beat, though. I just can't take the rambling about nothing at all and gave up 200 pages in."
"'Finnegans Wake' by James Joyce: hold my pftjschute."
"'Finnegans Wake' is very similar to this for me. I tried to read both 'Ulysses' and 'Finnegans Wake' and never got too far with either, even though they fascinated me."
"'Finnegans Wake' is so much more difficult to understand than 'Ulysses,' in my opinion. 'Ulysses' is like a waking man’s stream of consciousness while 'Finnegans' is almost in a weird dream-like stream of consciousness that hits different readers in different ways. 'Ulysses' is Joyce playing with style/prose while 'FW' is him playing with language."
"'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace."
"Every page has footnotes that are required to understand the story. All 1,000 of them."
House of Leaves
"I'm reminded of 'House of Leaves' by Mark Z. Danielewski, where the footnotes are the story."
"'The Silmarillion' by J. R. R. Tolkien."
"It's like the Old Testament of Middle Earth. I couldn't do it."
"'Being Mortal' by Atul Gawande."
"My Dad read it to prepare himself for his death from cancer. He gave it to me and said he hopes it brings me the comfort of his demise as it brought him."
"I can't get past chapter three. I cry each time I try to finish it. Ugly uncontrollable despair cry."
"It is a great book, it has helped me a lot. The author has some important insights into mortality. But six years on, I am still not there yet."
"'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo, in French. I was a second-year French language student."
"I came here to say 'Les Miserables' in English. The plot, more plot, 50+ pages of the history of Paris's sewers, more plot, more plot, more extremely long history."
"I enjoy history but don't interject an extensive detailing of it in the middle of a story."
"'Blood Meridian' by Cormac McCarthy. Judge Holden is one of the most disgusting yet intriguing characters in fiction I have ever read."
Reading Comprehension Who?
"I've read a bunch of Thomas Pynchon and Dostoevsky cover to cover and forget everything that happened in them."
"I find it very hard to reconstruct the words on the page into a movie in my brain. I might as well be reading a bunch of numbers. Pretty much all fictional books are challenging for me."
"'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov. It's an infamous book that has been historically misinterpreted, romanticized, and weaponized as a love story, when it's really the account of the sexual abuse and manipulation of a 12-year-old girl, written from the perspective of the abuser trying to convince the reader of his innocence."
"Some scenes are gut-wrenching when you actually read between the lines and keep in mind who is telling the story. It's the ultimate 'unreliable narrator.'"
Intruder in the Dust
"Anything by William Faulkner. Specifically 'Intruder in the Dust,' because that is the one I actually read. It was a requirement for one of my college classes. It was awful."
"He doesn’t use punctuation. Sometimes a 'sentence' can go on for pages at a time."
"'The Sound and the Fury' did me in. I had to read it for my last year of high school at a time when you couldn’t look up summaries and whatnot."
"It was just an uninterrupted stream of consciousness with barely any punctuation or flow. The definition of word vomit. I felt the mental equivalent of motion sick when I read it, and thinking back on it I can vividly recall these feelings, even several years later."
"'Quantum Ontology: A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics' by Peter J. Lewis."
"The book focuses on the three dominant interpretations of Quantum mechanics from a viewpoint of metaphysical ontology (the philosophy of what exists and what is real)."
"I have read many popular books on Quantum physics both in English and in Dutch. I can say I understand 70% of what is written in those books. This book sparked my interest very much when I came across it."
"I did not understand any of it. I could not finish the second chapter as I had no idea what the h**l this guy was talking about. It grounded my smug a** for a while."
"'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville. Just chapter after chapter describing whales and the whaling process. This might have captured the imagination in the 1850s, but when you’ve been watching Attenborough documentaries since childhood, explaining how big a whale is becomes tedious."
"I think people approach it wrong. It’s not a book about an exciting adventure, although it does have that, it’s a book about being bored at sea and reminiscing on life. I hate when people say you should only read the plot chapters. The point of the book is finding meaning in the dull things around you, and the writing is beautiful."
"This is a strange choice because it's a classic, but I struggled with 'David Copperfield,' because of the writing style, by the author, Charles Dickens, who wrote these long, drawn-out sentences, and it got to the point, as I was reading, where I would just start to count, in my mind, how many punctuation marks there were, in each sentence."
While we could take this conversation as sad, seeing as how there are books out there that some people do not like, it's better to take it as a reminder that not every book is going to be for us, and we have every right to put that book down and pick one up that we'll love instead.
People Reveal How The Troubled Kid From School Ended Up Making It Big
If we think back to our childhood and school years, we likely can remember someone who was always getting into trouble.
The assumption at the time might have been that this child was going nowhere, but as some will point out, these troubled kids can wind up being just as successful as everyone else, if not even more so.
Redditor bluewhalebluejay asked:
"Teachers of Reddit: Do you have a former student who you thought was doomed but ended up making it big? What's their story?"
Being Someone's Beacon
"I've had a few kids stand out."
"One of my first ones was a kid who was in my grade 10 drama class. Nice kid to me, with no major issues. Funny, not super academically inclined, but started to really like drama and we got along."
"He missed class somewhat frequently for excused absences that were noted as 'court.' I assume mostly weed related... just because of reasons. But I never asked."
"Anyway, halfway through the semester, he came in and announced it was his last day because he was being sent to juvie and he was upset he wouldn't be able to continue in drama (his other courses they could manage through distance education type things)."
"Was subbing back at the school the following year and ran into him. He'd caught up on all his missing credits while in juvie because he 'had nothing better to do so why not get some s**t done.' He was going to now graduate on time and was super proud of himself. Not sure where he's ended up now ten years later, but weed is legal now so as long as he's not dealing, so hopefully he's doing okay."
"Different school and where I ended up getting a permanent position so I stayed in the same place for a while, had this girl show up in grade nine and had her for Arts and English. She was... a lot. She would fully shut down and just not do anything. Or talk. Or she'd have a full-blown tantrum. She was exhausting."
"I drug her along through the Arts class and got her participating some days, which was apparently huge because in elementary, she was just left to do nothing all day because she wasn't disruptive. I jokingly suggested she take Drama with me the following year, but she hated speaking in public so figured that was a no-go."
"Did get her to do the lighting for the school show, though. She took drama every year. By the end of grade 12, she engaged with people, she could speak in front of the class, and she was completing credits (slowly and with a lot of support), but you could get work out of her. Apparently, I became her favorite teacher and I was one of the only ones she would do work for initially. But my god was she a lot of work some days. Glad I stuck it out because we got there eventually."
Imposed Limiting Beliefs
"I had a teacher tell me I'd probably end up managing a Borders, but they went under in 2011, so the joke's on her."
"My math teacher in high school moved me to the back of the room and told me to sit there and just look out the window. She said I’d be working at McDonald’s one day. I made $300k last year. She’s dead now."
"Not a teacher, but I knew a kid who was your stereotypical couldn't give a f**k student."
"He never did his work, p**sed off teachers, cut class, did all kinds of drugs, and always had detention. I remember the highlight of his work was writing an essay on why he was Black, despite being white. About mid-senior year, he dropped out, and he kinda just disappeared. I honestly thought he'd end up in jail at some point."
"In 2019, my job sent me over to a site to do a survey for a company installing our AV equipment. Lo and behold, the guy leading the project was the same wild and crazy kid from high school."
"We chatted and caught up on things, but the guy really turned his life around. He got his GED, quit drugs, took up trade jobs, and worked his way up to a senior position in that AV installation company. It's interesting to see how people change like that when they enter the real world."
Lack of Interests
"I had a student who was supposed to be a high school dropout but ended up graduating law school with honors."
"That sounds like that was a case where the kid was smart but bored and needed a passion to find."
"This sounds like my father and his brother. They were the same, screwing around in high school with bad grades, smoking weed and drinking and pulling pranks and playing poker all lunch, until college when they found what interested them. Now my uncle is a surgeon and my father is a scientist."
Such a Small World
"I taught geography to a very talented (and now famous) footballer. He wasn't particularly academic but is now a multi-millionaire. The tabloids loved his scandals, but I dare say he's loving his retirement now."
Mental Health Assistance
"I did some volunteer work in mental health services for teens, specifically with music."
"Probably obviously, teens with mental health problems can be incredibly self-conscious and reserved. This one girl, in particular, was quite timid most of the time when there was anyone with her who wasn't a close friend."
"Over the course of a few years, I managed to coax her into singing in front of me, then to the group, then at a fundraising event for the group."
"The last thing I heard about her was a post on Facebook that a friend showed me. She was complaining about there only being about 50 people at a gig that she was playing! I still remember having to talk her into that first performance with just one or two people there!"
"Son of two teachers, not a teacher. Our class criminal was acting out in grade school. He was a bully. He'd push kids down the stairs. He grabbed the boobs of the first girl in our class to have them."
"When he'd get in trouble, he'd run away from school, and the principal would get in his VW Bug and chase the kid down."
"In Junior high, he was suspended as often as he was in class it seemed. The same was true in high school. He didn't so much as graduate, as was passed on a plea bargain."
"Many years later, I saw him on Facebook. He's an oil man in Texas. His house is bigger than my yard, by a lot. He has a beautiful wife and daughter. On the surface, he made it and is living the dream."
"Now, he may still be a criminal. Financial success doesn't make one a good person. I don't know who he is these days. All I can say is growing up, I pictured him in jail or maybe in a trailer park as an adult. I never pictured him in a mansion living the high life."
"The money may be nice but I'd rather have a small house than work on an oil rig, that's a dangerous life."
"I bet he started on a rig or in a field, but he looks like a suit and tie guy these days. I agree 100%, though. My job gets me by (barely), but I'm safe and have a good work-life balance. I'd rather barely scrape by than be financially well off and either in danger or stuck at work all the time not enjoying the fruits of my labor! 40 hours a week is as much as I care to put in (I'd prefer less to be honest)."
"I taught a first-year university course. It was the fall semester, so for many students, it was their first semester at university ever, and I had one student who struggled. She was young, it was her first time living away from home, and she seemed perpetually overwhelmed."
"I think she was just naive and inexperienced. About a month into the semester and her grandmother passed and they were very close. She came to my office to tell me she had to go home for the funeral and would miss a couple of classes."
"She was sobbing and I comforted her and told her not to worry about class. When she left my office, I honestly thought that I would never see her again and that she was going home permanently."
"I was wrong. She came back a week later and she was laser focused. She started speaking out in class and asking questions, she came to all of my office hours and study groups, and she began to make connections with other students in the class."
"She absolutely blew it out of the water, aced the final exam, and finished the course with the highest grade. We stayed in contact and I was actually her reference for an intensive internship that she was very excited about (and she got it)."
"I will never forget her and she truly humbled me. Was really a lesson for me not to underestimate people."
"I worked administration in an elementary school. But I did take kids with low reading scores to the side to give them tutoring whenever I could."
"One kid stuck out. 15 words read per minute despite being eight years old. She had no confidence in herself, was too terrified to talk to anyone, and burst into tears at any mistake she made."
"Let's just say her family was... unsupportive and difficult. I did not see progress for MONTHS. I was worried about her future in school if she continued to lag behind and be too anxious to make it in the world."
"But eventually, she started talking to me. She stopped crying at mistakes, repeating my mantra ('It's okay to make mistakes, mistakes mean you're learning'). The words per minute score went up little by little as she began to show interest in different reading materials."
"By the end of the school year, she was looking forward to seeing me and her teacher said she was excited when the class took library trips. That teacher and I convinced the school to let me continue monitoring the student into the next school year. They agreed."
"One more year of tutoring passed. That shy, terrified girl became confident and happy. She talked to everyone, helped out in class, and demonstrated a fascination with learning new things. The new teacher told me how this kid was always trying to sneak books in-between classwork. In second grade, when we began, this student was one of the lowest-scored readers in her grade but by mid-year of third grade, she was the highest score. She was even helping out other kids!"
"I worked for a couple of years after she 'graduated' from my tutoring so I got to see her in the hallways. She always liked to tell me what she read in class, what she read in her personal time, and see what I'd recommend for her to read next. By the time I left my job, she was going to middle school and I knew she'd be just fine."
The End of the Bullying Era
"I had this classmate in high school who was the biggest d**k I saw in my entire life."
"He would beat people up if he didn't like the way they walked or whatever, would make teachers so angry in class that one of our teachers was rushed into the hospital due to hypertension."
"One day in our senior year, his mom and dad were tragically killed in a car crash, leaving him responsible for his three younger siblings."
"I didn't see him for a few weeks then one day came back and the principal was kind enough to accept him again back to school, but was informed that he may not graduate due to his very low grades."
"I have never seen such a sudden change of personality in my life. The dude became so focused and determined on graduating high school, it was scary."
"Fast forward 20 years to the year 2022, I had some legal issues to deal with, and one of my friends recommended me to a lawyer, and I was surprised when I saw him. All changed, turned his life around, saw the graduation pictures of his siblings displayed on his office wall, and has a beautiful wife and a daughter."
Talk About Leveling Up
"A stoner kid I knew who did nothing but doodle on everything ended up being some big shot at Lucasfilms and then Disney."
"I am a coach and through a coincidence, two kids who used to be my neighbors came through my team. When we were neighbors, their house was known as the crack house. It ran off a generator for a while and the dad was siphoning gas out of neighborhood cars to run the generator."
"Their dog was left outside barking for two nights in a row (another neighbor and I decided if it went to night three, we were taking the dog, the weather was fair). Finally, the house was foreclosed and the pics of the inside lived up to the crack house name."
"Fast-forward some years and I took one of the kids on my team home. We happened to go past my house and he pointed and said he used to live down there. I put it together and asked if he used to have a dog named Oscar, and he did!"
"So it turns out his dad eventually went to jail for stealing cars and his mom was in recovery for addiction to pills. They had to move in with his grandfather in the local trailer park who was an alcoholic."
"So the older brother did well. He's in college in the next state and is gonna be okay. The younger brother, though, is about to graduate high school as the valedictorian and has a full ride to Cal Tech."
A Different Perspective
"My husband had a teacher tell him with his efforts he would always be a B student, a B husband, and a B father. Another teacher, when learning of us getting married a few years later, said of me, 'Bless her heart.' He was a difficult, under-challenged student."
"I consider him an A+ husband and father, who runs his own 35-person company, a company that puts employees over profit. I'm just sorry those teachers didn’t see what has always been clear to me."
An Irreplaceable Teacher
"For my primary school teachers, I was probably that kid. Never spoke and could never finish a worksheet to save my life. Had all the tutoring in the world and I just couldn’t understand numbers. Didn’t understand punctuation for a while, either. Luckily, English just clicked for me one day and I went from an F to an A in a week."
"Turns out I had undiagnosed Autism and the way they were teaching these fundamentals didn’t slot into my head right. God bless my extra help teachers because they sat me down and gave everything the most arbitrary rules so that it would make sense."
"I can’t remember them properly now but I just remember explaining my young self's logic of the world to her and she made all the punctuation and math symbols slot into those rules so I could use full stops and multiply things without going crazy."
"Now I’m in university studying STEM, probably still applying a lot of Mrs. Brown's logic without realizing it. Bless that women’s patience because I wouldn’t have been able to get into top classes in secondary school without her."
The Perfect 'Thank You'
"I was the special ed kid who was regular all along."
"I was semi-nonverbal as a kid, and wouldn't really do school work in Kindergarten through third grade. I didn't really have a support system at home and had no interest in learning to read or do schoolwork, really. I just wanted to go home and play Nintendo."
"Towards the end of second grade, they started actively monitoring me and another young child. They would sit in on my school day, take notes about my behavior, and leave. They wouldn't talk to me at all, and I didn't realize their presence had anything to do with me until much later."
"Based on those reports, they moved me to Special Ed. I'm not sure if they thought I was just slow or on the spectrum, but every day, I would leave class for half the day and go to direct one-on-one class with an aide. She taught me all kinds of fundamentals I should have had before then. I was in the third grade before I learned how to tie my shoes, for example. She taught me how to read. She taught me how to communicate."
"By the fourth grade, I didn't have to go to Special Ed anymore. I was vaguely normal. It would take until the eighth grade before I finally made friends, but it would have never happened with her."
"Unfortunately, much of my childhood is kind of a vague blur. I can't even remember which of the elementary schools I went to where she was. I wish I knew how to unlock this memory and find her if just to write a heartfelt letter of appreciation."
"Wherever you are, whoever you are, thank you for saving me."
These stories were both surprising and heart-warming, and they are a great reminder that no two lives look exactly alike, but also, a tough start does not necessarily mean a dark and terrible life.