Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My most powerful experience in 2008

During the months of April and May this year I worked for the University of Utah, Teen Mother and Child Program. It's a program geared toward the under served population in Salt Lake County, dealing specifically with pregnant teens under 18 years of age. In this program the girls are given many resources including counseling for substance abuse , social and/or personal problems, adoption placement, parenting classes, vocation/education, and financing medical bills, etc. That is all in addition to the prenatal, postnatal and pediatric visits they receive as a patient in the program. It's an amazing work the team does in helping these young, soon to be parents, through this life changing event.

My role in the program was small, yet significant. I sort of did all the dirty work; preparing charts, sending letters, faxing records, keeping records, updating reports, etc. I did, however, have the opportunity to interact with the teens a bit. I was often the first person the girls spoke with or met in the program after their positive pregnancy test. Sometimes terrified mothers would call in on behalf of their frightened daughter. It was very humbling to see the circumstances of some of our patients. Knowing that I played a small role in helping them through this overwhelming process is something that comes to mind when I consider my life now and my future. I have many years ahead of me to utilize my time and talents to better the lives of others.

This experience sparked the first genuine interest I have ever had in seeking higher education. It's about time right? Not only do I want to educate myself, but I really want to experience personal success and achievement. I recall in high school feeling proud of my accomplishments and proud of my ability to succeed considering all of my personal circumstances. I didn't love going to class...I skipped school way more than a kid should get away with...but even still I was smarter than half my class. I loved being involved in music and drama. I loved to work after school and be social. I loved football and basketball games and going to school dances.

So with all that said, I'm enrolled for 6 credit hours this fall and will be working 40 hours. This isn't to say that I'm not scared of school a bit because I've had some difficult semesters which have lowered my confidence in succeeding. I am ready to move forward, take what I have and give it all I've got. I realize that those experiences that discourage me now were absolutely necessary. Difficult and unfortunate at the time, yes, but it's clear that from each of those experiences I learned something I couldn't learn any other way. In hindsight those weren't failures, they were successes. I learned what I needed to and now I can move on and let go of those feelings that have held me back until now. In twenty years my past will look like a staircase and I'll be at the top. You have to start at the bottom to get at the top. There's no way around it.

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