Throughout my life I’ve had so many amazing experiences that have shaped my thoughts, interests, and beliefs into expectations for myself and goals to strive for. Growing up I was surrounded by books. My mom was a teacher so she always had access to whatever books I wanted and she never said no to a trip to Borders, a bookstore that used to be in my town. More often than not, I ended up reading all the books that my older brother and neighbors were reading. I grew up on fictional stories and fantasy books like Ranger’s Apprentice and Eragon. To this day, I treasure my books and am always on the lookout for something new to read.
Being in an environment where reading was so encouraged, I quickly found that reading became one of my favorite hobbies and remains so to this day. I remember reading so much that my teachers would take my books away because I would read them incessantly. This upbringing influenced my intellectual journey tremendously and I easily would not have cared about my education the way I do now.
Another thing that has been more influential in setting the specific goals I have is my faith. The most important thing that I have learned from being a Christian is that God is a God of Love. He Loves us so much that he sent his only son to be nailed on a tree so that we could be saved. With this in mind, It’s now my job to love God and love people. That has been the driving force for my aspirations to work with people who struggle with mental illness or substance abuse. I want to be a person who can love and help someone when they can’t do that for themselves.
I learned that I had an interest in studying mental illness my sophomore year. I took an online Personality class for a psych minor I was working on and I was astounded at how many potential variables play a role in who we grow up to be. My interests were later confirmed my junior year in my Abnormal Psych class where we got to analyze so many different mental illnesses and how they can affect so many different people in so many different ways.
I discovered another curiosity of mine my junior year. I took a class called Drug Behavior and a class called Illness, Wellness, and Healing. Drug behavior was centered around different drugs and classes of drugs and how they affect our bodies and Illness, Wellness, and Healing identified more of the social implications of addiction and drug use.
All these things culminated into my decision to become an addiction specialist. I’m hoping that I can do an internship in either a psychiatric facility or with an addiction specialist next semester. Grad school is definitely in my future, but I’m thinking about taking a year off to work and hopefully travel a little bit.
Overall, my intellectual journey has been a challenging, stressful, and demanding one. Yet, it’s also been a joyful, gratifying, and inspiring experience. One I hope can continue for the rest of my life. One I wouldn’t trade for the world’s weight in gold.