During my Junior and Senior year of High School I attended college classes. Three to be exact. I earned two A's and a B. Clearly I was ready. So when I set down with my college counselor to arrange my freshman schedule she believed in me...a little too much. I was weighed down with classes that I was not ready for in subjects that I was not strong in. I failed, hard. But I didn't just fail, I gave up. Why could I not get it right? I should be able to do this! I was giving it my all and all I wanted to do was cry. Every day, ever night, even in class, I felt defeated. My confidence was shot and the only conclusion I could come to was that I was not smart enough, I did not belong there and it was due time that I give up. So I drooped out.
I never took into account the fact that I was, one, in classes that were far above my comprehension level, two, completely on my own for the first time in my life, three, suffering from depression and anxiety and four, dealing with resurfacing trauma and triggers. I needed help but all I could see was that I was stupid and admitting to any of the above just made me feel even more incompetent. What was the point of life if I could not complete the very classes I needed to receive my degree to achieve my dreams?!?! It was an ugly experience.
Eventually, slowly, very slowly, I rebuilt myself. Not in a way in which I was made perfect but in a way in which I could understand me better and therefore function better. I learned to admit when there was a problem, take failure as a learning curve not a stop sign, and most importantly, how to ask for and receive help. Help with finances, mental health, permanency building and so very much more. Once I had that support around, the right, loving, encouraging support. I no longer had to force myself to pick myself up, that support around me made me want to do it. They helped me find my confidence, my perseverance. I rediscovered the passion that lead me to college in the first place and with the right manual (to myself) and the knowledge to ease myself in, not jump in, I went for it.
In the Spring of 2015 I enrolled in my first semester back at college. I attended my first college class in almost 3 years and I aced it! Then came Fall and I aced that class too! I could not believe it. After my stint as a 2015 FosterClub All-Star I returned to college with a whole new attitude and an amazing confidence level. I didn't just know I could do college or that I would do college, I knew that I had to do college. It was necessary.
Man, have I been doing college. I have been doing college, full-time, for Spring 2016, Summer 2016 and now, Fall 2016. Even with working full-time I have managed an overall 3.6 GPA. I am proud. So very proud but more than proud, I am determined. Determined to ensure that you and every other foster youth knows this story, or a story like this. We are not statistics, we are people with hopes and dreams, and when given the time to bloom we will become the most precious flowers in the garden. We, when given the time to bloom, withstand adversity, shine light in the dark and sparkle in the sun like no other. We are remarkable.
I believe that there is a little voice inside us all, that little voice is one that knows what we truly want to achieve and that we can achieve it. That voice is pure because it comes from ourselves in our truest form, as children. No matter what, that voice never ceases to exist, it continues to believe even when the world comes in and attempts to squash it out. For that reason alone we cannot give-up on it, it is a core belief and we will not be complete until that dream is achieved. We are not empty because we lack things we only feel empty when we lack the ambition to achieve the things we truly want. Our purest dreams, our deepest desires known to us before we knew they were to be desired after. We not only owe it to them we owe it to ourselves to never give up.
I will be whatever I dream to be and my dreams are big, so watch out world, I'm coming!
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