I did this to myself I know. I really hope this Who Am I series hasn’t pushed anyone away from reading my other posts… I just want to be real about my life and at the same time, not lie to myself or anyone else about who I am and what I’ve experienced that shaped me.
Part 4 is about my first three years of college (2010-2013). It was during this three year time span that my depression was at it’s worst, but the journey of the next three years was something I needed to help me grow.
Throughout my senior year in high school I knew, I KNEW, that I wanted to attend Northern Arizona University. I was so dead set on it that I didn’t apply anywhere else! I couldn’t believe it the day I got my acceptance letter, I was so overjoyed and pumped to finally be venturing out of my hometown. I had it all, the acceptance letter, my dorm placement, my first schedule of classes, and then, it was gone.
One of the biggest obstacles that people run into when wanting to go to school is the financial aspect of it. What happened in my case? Well, I was $5000 short. No other financial aid, no one to cosign a private loan for me, etc. I was devastated. I was heartbroken. Not going to college just wasn’t an option for me though. I had no desire what so ever to work for Domino’s Pizza as a career. So, I applied to the local community college and well, obviously I was accepted.
As my depression got worse with the failed attempt at going to my desired university of choice, things just got harder. I became suicidal, I lost faith in myself and in those who had supported me. My first year of community college I made some new friends and I had some good times, but deep inside, I was still hurting.
It got to a point where I was writing an anonymous blog online. I didn’t hold back. I spilled my guts there and wanted to just disappear. After midway through my second semester, I was so out of control of my feelings and I KNEW I needed to do something. So, I sent the link to my older sister. Later that night, she called me and said, “you are moving in with me”. Sure enough end of May rolls around, I’m done with my first year of college and I’m moving in to live with my sister and her husband at the time. That was the first step in the right direction for me.
While living with my sister, I was finally able to feel like I was actually growing up. I was able to start acting like an adult and in some cases be treated like one. One of my best stories from living with my sister is not a long one but it’s worthy of it’s own post, it was my 20th birthday.
While living in a new town and going to a new school, I met some amazing friends. One in particular, we’ll call her, Marissa. She was senior in high school taking college courses when I met her, her mom, and other family. She really was a light in my life during my year there. I also learned she recently got engaged and I could not be more happy for her. Thanks to her and her family, I was able to start thinking about life in a new way.
If you’re wondering where my parents are in all of this. Well, if you read Part 2, then you’ll understand why my father isn’t a big part of my life at this time. My mother and I though, our relationship up until this point was kind of rough (in my opinion). I loved her because she was my mother but I was the angry teen and I wanted nothing to do with familiar authority. However, my anger with her and family, and our relationship doesn’t stay strained for long.
After almost a year of living with my sister, for reasons I am choosing to omit, I moved back to my hometown. If you’ve read the first three parts then you may be wondering, “Ry, why would you do that?”. Well, I’ll answer that question like this: If you have a grandparent that you look up too and love so dearly and you’ve never lived with them, damn it, you’re missing out. That’s right, I moved in with my grandmother. My mom’s mom.
A New Perspective
My grandmother is definitely one of my favorite people in life. She’s always been my number one fan, and understood me more than anyone else I know. I think this is because she always saw a bit of her late husband in me. She constantly was telling me how alike I was to my grandfather. He passed when I was in second grade, and fun fact: I broke down in the middle of class announcing it. I loved the guy and I will always remember Christmas at their house when he was around.
While living with my grandma, I learned a lot. For example, working at Wal-Mart was one of my most hated jobs. I liked a lot of the people I worked with, but being an employee at Wal-mart was a shitty experience. On the plus side, I learned how to deal with shit people in creative ways haha.
During the summer of 2013, my uncle asked me to drive him out to California to visit family. He has epilepsy and at the time we didn’t know that I was technically blind. But I did it. I drove 15 hours, from our hometown to central California with my little brother and my uncle’s service dog in tow. Who would’ve thought that a trip like that would change my life. Okay, well, it wasn’t the trip alone but that’s where it started.
My uncle was staying out in California longer and I had to get back for work. My aunt and cousin drove me to the airport and on the way we talked about college and future plans. Up until this point, I hadn’t been going anywhere with my schooling. In fact, I was and still am on academic probation with the community college LOL.
My cousin was transferring from her California school to Northern Arizona University and we all thought how cool it would be for us to both be there. We talked about financial aid and I learned some new information that I didn’t know before. So when I got home, I reapplied, I got accepted again (shocker lol), and I got ALL of the financial aid I needed. This was it, I was going! I’m going to Northern Arizona University!!
Life really has its ways with mysteries. We know what we can hope for and dream of but we don’t always know what curveballs will come. Yes these last three years were rough, but when you’re at rock bottom, the only way to move is up.