How Recovery Changed My School Life (& Self Worth)

Statistics has been the biggest confidence boost of the year. I got a 90, making it the first math class I’ve gotten an A since probably the 2nd grade!

This kind of takes me back to my first semester in college. Coming from homeschooling through high school, and only recently getting over the anxiety I dealt with since childhood, I was barely ready to jump back into public academia. A huge reason I home schooled was my anxiety! I was so unsure of myself, I had no idea how this was going to work – or even if it would work.

I came out of my first semester with a 4.0 GPA.

It was an utter shock. I had no idea I could be good at school! My last years in public school were absorbed in Bs, Cs, Ds, and the feeling of failure. It turns out, I am good at school! Public school just failed me!

The moment I received those four “As” in my first semester, I felt like I could do anything. Going forward, I had a whole new sense of who I was and what I was capable of. I started believing I could do anything if I worked hard enough. I even thought about becoming a naturopathic doctor for a little while! Five years ago, I would have never considered becoming a doctor or applying to an Ivy League school. Yet, in February, I will be applying to an Ivy League school.

It may be “just” an Associate’s Degree, but it’s taken a lot for me to get here today. It’s taken a lot of sweat and tears to get this 2 year degree. (That’s taken 3 years to finish, but that doesn’t matter!) It’s taken a lot to become who I am today. And I cherish those three years that have shaped me greatly. I’ve had so many new experiences and learned so much more than what’s taught in class. And I am so, so happy even to feel like I’ve reached a milestone in my college career. It felt like it would last forever! This reward has reminded me there is an end goal! And it’s good, and it comes with a neat case.

I didn’t think I would cry during the graduation. I wasn’t even particularly excited. I was kind of embarrassed to get this much attention. But when I walked into that auditorium I felt such a sense of pride. Then, when the commencement speaker started to talk about fear, I almost started crying! (Here’s my synopsis: Fear is a roadblock, don’t listen to fear, persist through fear, you’re here because you were afraid but you came to college anyway,” awwwwwwww!).

I’m so excited for what the experience of getting a Bachelor’s degree will bring me. Also, the experience of returning to the work force during my nine months between colleges. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to experience getting a post-graduate degree too!

If you can’t decipher that, I’m returning to college in the Fall at a new school (to be decided) and taking the next semester off. I’ll be working and hopefully volunteering during that time. And yes, I’m hoping to get back into making videos!

Ps. Between public middle school and college, obviously I did get better grades while home schooled. Now, I will always insist home school is real school, but my parent’s did write my report cards. I had no way to know how I’d do in the real world (where I wasn’t in control of every curriculum), especially ~post-secondary education~.

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Women I Love

So, I was thinking about International Women’s Day and I decided to journal about it, since I have been journaling the past few nights. I was going to make a list of all the women who inspire me. Then, suddenly, I drew a blank.
I could think of all the men who inspire me, Jesus, Ghandi, Dr. Ben Carson… And, ironically, men who do not inspire me. But I could not think of a woman who does.

That baffles me. How could I, a strong woman myself, not have any strong women I look up to?

It really shows me how much inspirational women are missing from pop culture. All I hear about are celebrities (and criminal activity by those celebrities). I don’t hear about enough women who are good role models to young women like me-and younger young women, who need them more than I do.

So I set myself a challenge and did some digging. I decided to write a list of 10 women who inspire me. It took me over an hour, but I’ve now found them.

1) The Biblical Ladies– Ones who did great things for the Most High God and His Kingdom. I specifically wrote Esther, Ruth, Mary, and Mary Magdelene.

2) Malala Yousefzai. If you do not know who Malala is, you may be living under a rock. You might want to get out of it. Malala is a girl who, at 16 years old, got shot by the Taliban for promoting the idea that girls should go to school. As a woman who went to school, I know how important this is. Malala is a modest woman who stays true to her religion while condemning the acts of those who use her religion wrongly. I find myself doing the same thing. I think she’s younger than me, but I hope I can make an impact as big as Malala has.

3) Mayim Bialik. Mayim is an actress, but that’s not why she’s on this list. She’s on the list because she’s an actress, neuroscientist and Orthodox Jew. She gracefully applies the Jewish rules of Tzniut (modesty) to her life, while in the competitive world of acting. She also has some book smarts, considering she has a PhD in neuroscience. (Ps. “Some” is an understatement).

4) All the lady mental health YouTubers– On YouTube there are many courageous women who advocate for mental health. Young and old, we come together to help this world understand mental illness. Those of us who speak our stories inspire me most of all, as telling your story of a mental health challenge opens you up for a world of hurt. However, and I think my mental health YouTube friends will agree, it’s not usually as bad as we think it will be. And we get to help others in the process.

I specifically wrote down Kati Morton, LikeKristen, and LetsTalkTics. Go check them out!

5) Beckah Shea. Beckah Shea is a singer who I can describe best as a complete blessing. She overcame mental illness and now sings (and raps!) her heart out for Jesus. I got to meet Beckah and see her perform. Even while very pregnant, she was full of energy. She is walking in the Spirit, I have no doubt about that. Her personality left a handprint on my heart, I will not forget her anytime soon!

Definitely check her out if you like Christian music!

6) Katherine from my Messianic Synagogue. If you didn’t know, I’ve been going to a Messianic Jewish synagogue every Saturday (the Sabbath). Messianic means they believe that Jesus is the Messiah. There is no fellowship quite like it. It is an amazing feeling to worship the same way Jesus worshipped. Anyway, there is a woman at the synagogue who is very touched by my story and my headscarf. I haven’t told her, but I’m very touched by her story too. I admire her faith, her knowledge, and her love for Jesus and other people. She also has a PhD in pastoral counseling, so we bond over our shared interest in psychology. I hope to become more like her someday, because she has the fruits of the Spirit in her.

7) Shawna Houson. Shawna is a Youtuber I have watched for ages. She inspires me in my filmmaking, faith, mental health, and just over-all being a good person. She’s funny, but more than that, she’s real. She recently uploaded a video about how depression effects her life. If you watch Shawna (also known as Nanalew), definitely send her some love. (Yes, YouTubers do read comments!)

8) Female veterans, police officers, and firefighters etc. The females who save the lives of dainty girls like me every day. Doing what most of us do not have the courage to do. I know I don’t. If I was on a battlefield, I’d be gone before the first gunshot. So I pray the Most High blesses those women and keep them safe, because they are very special women and we need them.

I’d also like to mention, I’m inspired by women who do those jobs in head scarves. Proving to the world you can be in a head scarf and be strong and independent.

9) Women I met at the OCD clinic. When entering the OCD clinic, I don’t think I realized I would meet such beautiful people. The young kids & teens I met there are the strongest people I know. They fight a battle in their minds that you couldn’t even dream of without having OCD yourself. And in that program, they were winning. The young women I met there are the strongest women I know. They’ve been to Hell and back, but they’re still standing! I love those girls like crazy and think of them everyday! Which reminds me of a quote:

Sufferers of mental illness aren’t victims, they’re survivors.

If you’re suffering from mental illness, keep your head up, you’re a survivor. 🙂

10) Women relatives– Memere, Grandma, Aunt Kathy, and Aunt Celine.

And the biggest inspiration and woman I love the most in my life, my mom! Mom, you are an amazing and strong woman. You went through hardships in life, but it hasn’t knocked you down. You support me and love me through my worst and best times. You love me unconditionally. You teach me what Jesus’ love is like, although I could not fathom all of it. Even though you deal with your own challenges, you still take care of me every day. You put others before yourself and that is admirable. I love you!