His Guidance Counselor Told Him He Wasn’t University Material, And Years Later He Pretended Not To Know Her

It’s hard getting your dreams crushed. It’s even harder if the person responsible is the one person meant to help you achieve them.


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The student in question struggled in high school. His family dynamics were far from great. Despite getting adopted by his stepfather, the parent barely paid him any attention.

His mother didn’t help matters; her sole focus was making sure her husband was happy.

A Narcissist and a Flying Monkey

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Looking back, he realized how messed up the situation was. “[My stepfather] was what some might call a textbook narcissist, with my mom as his ‘flying monkey’.”

It Deeply Impacted His Life

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It took a toll on the student’s work. While he attended all his classes and did well on most assignments, he had a lot of anxiety and a hard time focusing.

The Insulting Guidance Counselor

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For all four years of his high school career, the student had the same guidance counselor.

Year after year, the woman would hint at the boy’s lack of intelligence. When he explained he needed more help, she would brush him off.

Her favorite refrain was that he simply “wasn’t trying hard enough.”

Unfair Criticisms

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To add insult to injury, she had a close personal friendship with the student’s stepfather. Since the stepfather worked as a social worker for the school board, she’d constantly tell the student he “had no excuse” for his low achievement.

Finally Figuring It All Out

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By the time his final year rolled around, he had a solid vision of what he wanted to do with his life. He couldn’t wait to share it with the guidance counselor.

At their college meeting, he declared proudly that he was interested in psychology and would like to be a counselor or teacher.

Not Exactly University Material

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“This woman scoffed,” the student wrote. “Literally scoffed at me. She said, and I quote, ‘Please do not apply to university. It would be a huge disappointment for you. You are not university material, and you may be better with a community college or even certificate in administration’.”

He Very Nearly Gave Up

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While the student makes it abundantly clear that he does not look down on community colleges or trade schools, he knew that her words would haunt him his entire life.

“I wanted to pursue something I was very interested in, and she essentially told me I wasn’t smart enough or capable enough to do it.”

His Life’s Turning Point

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The student spent his twenties working a variety of small jobs here and there and grew more and more depressed with his life. After years of this, he decided he needed to make a change. He applied for university.

“Well, I got in, and I graduated with honors.” He goes on to share how his first bachelor’s degree led to his second and how that led him to get a Masters in behavioral psychology. Talk about success!

The Audacity

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He never forgot the guidance counselor’s harsh words, though. His mother would often share stories about running into the woman at the grocery store. The mother would constantly brag about his success, and it seemed like the guidance counselor thought herself responsible for it.

The student got a chance to clarify that assumption two years later.

Meeting His Counsellor For The First Time in Years

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When his stepfather died, many people gathered for the visitation—including the guidance counselor. 

“She came right over and started talking to me immediately like she knew me, like we’re old friends. I cut her off and said, ‘I’m so sorry, you must be confusing me with someone else’.”

Who Even Are You

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The woman was absolutely shocked. She reminded him that she was his guidance counselor for four whole years. He continued to feign ignorance.

“I just shook my head and gave the best blank look I could give, shrugged, and said, ‘sorry, I honestly don’t remember you’.”

Her Disappointment Was His Satisfaction

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She looked confused and disappointed as he walked away, and he felt satisfied. He wanted her to feel like what she contributed to his life: nothing.

Even though she did affect him, he wasn’t going to let her know or let her take credit for his success.

The Internet Comments

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“Good for you,” one comment read. “She wanted kudos for a job well done, and you showed her she wasn’t worth remembering.”

Others commended his success, writing things like “She was horrible. I’m sorry she made you pause, and it’s so awesome you still went after your dreams.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.

I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.

I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!

I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. Please share the posts if you find them helpful!

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