Knowing Our Limits

I came across the following email from a student who withdrew from class as the semester began:

I’m having a very hard time soaking all this in. My head is hurting. My navigational skills are not working. My fingers hurt from typing. This college stuff seems to be out of my reach at this time. Maybe later when my mind and my clean date gets longer, meaning more clean time. There is too much on my plate right now. Need to clean some of this crap off my plate first. You must know your limitations. (30 January 2011)

I saved it for these past months to try to wrap my mind around it. On the one hand, it’s accurate, at least we do need to know our limitations and there is often too much on one’s plate. On the other hand, we learn our limits pushing beyond them when grace allows. I wasn’t offered the opportunity to counsel this particular student. But even when I am permitted, mostly I listen to them think about how this is similar to or different from that – whatever it is they are feeling, coming up against.

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