I have always had big dreams, even as a child. My first one was to see the end to my line of spinal surgeries, which I accomplished at age 13. It was a painful journey, but one that helped me to see my potential and my perseverance in tough situations.
It put my life into perspective for me.
While I was going through that challenge, I decided I should continue to dream big: I wanted to go to college.
I wanted to become someone.
No one in my family had gone to college before, so my brother and I were more than determined to get there. We wanted to prove everyone wrong when they said we couldn’t make it, when they said we weren’t good enough.
And we did.
Together, we would made them regret their doubts.
During my first semester of college as an English major at Castleton University last year, I experienced a lot of mental health and self-worth issues. This only made my experience harder and it made me miserable. I dragged my feet all day and asked myself why I was here, wondering if I was good enough for college.
This often made me spiral into thoughts about how I wasn’t worthy of being there and that someone better than me deserved my place. I was unsure if I could handle the challenge of balancing homework, a social life, and time for the family, and I was unsure if I even wanted to take up the challenge in the first place.
I kept thinking about how differently everyone else behaved compared to me, and how I was so unprofessional. If everyone else seemed so happy, why were my nights full of stress with me almost breaking down because there weren’t enough hours in the day to finish everything?
Why was I the only one struggling?
I wasn’t the only one, though.
I just didn’t see that then because I was stuck in my own head. I was too focused on my own struggles to see everyone else’s. Once I opened my eyes and saw how everyone else was feeling the same way, I eased up on myself; maybe I wasn’t doing so bad after all. Actually, I was doing pretty well.
I had argued with myself over whether or not I wanted to stay in college during that first semester, and even spoke to my parents about it, who were supportive of whatever I chose to do.
I decided to stay; I could do this. Although that nagging voice in the back of my head kept screaming at me, telling me I wasn’t good enough, I ignored it and pushed forward.
I got this. After all, I had no choice but to stay and prove myself and all of the people who doubted me wrong.
I’m not done yet. I have so much more I want to accomplish before I graduate. My journey has really just begun, and I’m excited to see where it takes me from here.