Today I sadly write to you that this will be my last blog entry as a CMHAW student. I am officially done school and starting a new chapter in my life. The last 14 months have been some of the hardest most trying times yet best growing times in all my educational years. If you have read my blogs from the beginning you will know that I also spent the last 14 months trying to balance school, work and having a life as many of us do, and it is just not that simple. When I started school I was 20 years old, I had no idea who I really was. I didn’t really think I could accomplish the 14 months but I was going to try anyways. In high school I never really applied myself because I thought I wasn’t smart enough and I thought if I tried I would fail so I just did bare minimum, I never thought that I would excel as well as I did in college. Not that excelling didn’t come with a lot of challenges.
I remember many Friday nights after having spent a long week working hard on projects and preparing for tests, attending class and staying up late trying my best to get things finished by their 11:59 pm dead line. I would be in the car with my mom, dreading going to my night shift because I was emotionally drained, crying because I didn’t think I could do it one more minute. Many nights my mom had to talk me into doing one more day, sometimes one more minute. Because all I could focus on was the struggle. The obsession of a good grade or a perfect presentation.
Through the struggle I learned not fully who I am but partially what I am made of. I learned that obsessing over perfection gets you nowhere, running on empty and not taking care of your health, hydration, sleep as well as your mental, emotional and physical needs will make you sick. I also learned that a bad grade on a test or a project doesn’t define who you are. You define who you are, by your presence, your ability to be persistent and try again when you don’t succeed the first time or even the 100th time but you try any way. How you work with your group members on a frustrating project and how you deal with the challenges you will be faced with. What you take out of all experiences you encounter good or bad, those are the things that will define you.
In the last 14 months yes I gained an education. But more importantly I gained a sense of purpose. I gained a better understanding of others and the ability to take people as they are even if they don’t believe in the same things I do or think the way I do I can still see them for who they are not who I want them to be. Whether that be my family, friends, classmates, co-workers or clients. I see everyone as equals, as humans just trying to get by as best they can. I gained the ability to use my experience and my education to help others change their lives like I changed mine.
Today I am a 22 year old soon to be college graduate. I do not know where my journey in life is going to take me but I know the options are endless. I find myself over whelmed by choice, choices that I didn’t think I had a few years back, but I know today no dream Is too big, no step is too small and I can be anything and go anywhere if I set my mind to it. It took a lot of people to teach me how to believe in myself, to teach me to never give up and to follow my dreams. To the Stenberg staff who supported me while I grew up in their class rooms I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To my fellow classmates who had their own struggles and successes I am very proud of all of you and I wish you the best of luck in your future. To the future CMHAW students and students of other programs who may be reading this. May this journey help you find you, may it take your farther then you have ever dreamed and may it spark a passion inside you that never blows out. Always remember to breath and take care of yourself, no feeling will last forever and change will make you uncomfortable but eventually stronger than you have ever been before. I hope this journey will give you so much more than just an education.