Jon Vanegas: A Letter to Myself

Jon and Ellie at the LV Orientation Commissioning Ceremony

Jon and Ellie at the LV Orientation Commissioning Ceremony

During LV Orientation, I felt very nervous about my upcoming year as a Science and Religion teacher at San Miguel School. I had no teaching experience, no background knowledge of secondary education, and no formal education training for that matter. Now that I’m starting my third official week of teaching, I can finally say, IT’S A LOT OF WORK! I’m so tired all the time. I find myself dozing off regularly. I’m in bed by 9:30. Gross.

Jon Vanegas, 16-17, San Miguel School, Washington, DC

Jon Vanegas, 16-17, San Miguel School, Washington, DC

It’s really tough. To be quite honest, sometimes I want to give up. And it so happens that last week was one of those weeks. But, that’s all my negativity speaking. I try my very best to not let it get to me. So, during times of great stress, nerves, and fear about a new chapter of my life, I tend to write letters to myself. Is that weird? Maybe. Is it helpful? Totally.

I originally had an idea of what I wanted my first blog post to be. However, now that I’m reevaluating my thoughts, I decided to cheat this time. I’m sharing a letter I wrote to myself last Friday. In a way, it’s meditation for me. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll read it whenever I feel low as a reminder of the strength I seek for my own faith. Enjoy!

Dear Jon,

Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to let go. Don’t be afraid to say “yes.” Certainly don’t be afraid to say “no.”

You’ve made it this far. Your willingness to go out of your own comfort zone to teach, inspire, and, hopefully, learn will bring you to a better understanding of the world around you. Think about your 4th grade self. How alone and hopeless you felt. How uninspired you were. Do you see yourself in your students? Do you see that hopelessness in their eyes? Reach out to them. Talk to them. Tell them what you wished someone told you (and make sure they get it).

No matter how tired, how stressed, or how annoyed you are, remember that someone’s future is in your hands. The actions you serve, the words you speak, and the peace you seek will make a huge impact in their lives.

Remember this: “when it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds.” Take two things from this. Whenever you enter a dark passage in your life, remember to look for rainbows in your clouds. Think of all the people that inspired you to move on in your life. Think of all the hands that held yours as you took down every obstacle that came your way. But most importantly, always remember to be a rainbow in the children’s clouds. Be the help these children look for when they enter the classroom. Be an inspiration, a light, and a blessing to them, as they are to you.



Jon Vanegas is a 1st year LV serving at San Miguel School in Washington, DC and is a 2016 graduate of Manhattan College.

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