My Journey to Here: A Story of Higher Education Part II

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The title explains that this is a story of higher education; but more than that, my journey to get here.  This true tale of my personal and educational history will help you to understand my convictions, beliefs, passions and weaknesses.  I hope it inspires, enlightens or at the very least, amuses you.

Part Two – More Backstory: Getting Sick

The last time I sat down to blog I told you about my education up through high school.  An education fulfilled through homeschooling.  The flexibility that homeschooling provided allowed me to graduate high school at the age of sixteen. I turned seventeen over that summer and by August of 2012 I was all set to go off and live on campus at Mansfield University as a Broadcast Communications major.  But that’s not where this story begins…

In March of 2008 I was playing on two competitive soccer teams and in the midst of trying out for my third.  I simply loved soccer.  Suddenly during try-outs I fell ill.  Apparently continual nights of little or no sleep over an extended period of time can make a twelve year quite sick. Imagine that, sleep is important, my parents were right. I contracted mononucleosis.  Yup, that’s right; the famous kissing disease can also be caused by childhood hyperactivity… who knew?  Fortunately the coach was impressed with the little bit he saw and secured my spot on the team.  Unfortunately, I never made it back.

My recovery was taking an unusually long time and my symptoms were getting worse and seemed to be multiplying.  We then started my tour of doctors in central PA.  After about seven months I was diagnosed with Dysautonomia.  Dysautonomia is a failure  of the autonomic nervous system.  This disorder shares many symptoms with Fibromyalgia.  I would never play soccer again.

For a while after the diagnosis I was in a rather sad state of mind.  I slept a lot.  Most days I slept all day and spent just a few hours awake at night, alone.  I never watched much television before, but after getting sick it was about all I had the energy and motivation to do.  I remember turning on the television one day to the show Happy Days, and I remember it made me laugh and smile for the first time a long time.  I came to love old sitcoms.  My dream became to produce television and bring back the family sitcom.

Once I found my new passion for sitcoms I started to pull myself together and began to cope with the pain I now have to live with.  I turned myself around onto a somewhat normal sleep schedule and started to interact with other human beings again.  What actually became one of my favorite methods of interacting was watching the news with my dad.  It started one night when I sat down on the couch when he was watching The O’Reilly Factor and we started conversing and bonding.  Suddenly politics and history became more than something to bond over, it was another thing I grew passionate about.

When I finally seemed to be in control of my pain and symptoms I started to look for a job.  I had done little jobs along the way, but it was time for a real job.  In the summer of 2012 I became a sanitation worker at a theme park.  Being sixteen and graduated meant that the child labor laws did not apply to me and I was able to work a lot of hours… and I did.

I had to find time in my busy work schedule to complete the FAFSA and get ready for college.  I enjoyed my summer working at that theme park, but I was ready to get out and be on my own.  I was ready for the next chapter in my life: college.

So, in August of 2012 I went off to live on campus at Mansfield University as a Broadcast Communications major, and then, two weeks later, I withdrew and came home.

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My brother and I sporting our Dysautonomia Awareness shirts and my mom in her Colon Cancer Awareness shirt. In this family we fight like champions because losing is not an option!
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