Growing up in the foster care system, I have had so many heartbreaking moments. I have questioned who I am, where I am going, and if I will accomplish anything of significance. These questions weighed heavy on me as I faced one of the biggest challenges to staying motivated and managing my mental health during COVID. Months before the pandemic hit, I had completed my medical treatment and was consumed with school, a welcomed distraction to life. When the pandemic forced schools to close, my mental health challenges resurfaced, and I began to deteriorate, and I could not perform everyday living activities. Simple things like eating, sleeping, and getting out of bed became hard, and I became overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide. These behavior patterns consumed me, and I could not attend my junior year of high school. I am so grateful for Exposher and the people who supported me throughout that time because they made it better. They did not give up on me when I had given up on myself, and once I realized that, I found the strength to get up and do better for myself. I wanted to show them that their time and investment had not been wasted on me. As a result, I started attending school again my Senior year and went to a continuation school to make up for my missing credits.
Today, I am most proud of finishing high school on time and getting my mental health back under control. Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamt of college. Being accepted into Santa Monica College is a blessing, and although it is not the college I dreamed of, I am very excited to be continuing this journey in college. After receiving my Associate's Degree from Santa Monica, I plan to attend UCLA and major in Computer Science. I know it will be a long road ahead. Still, with a sound support system and scholarship assistance from Exposher, I will be able to reduce the financial impact to afford my tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation, and housing. Receiving a scholarship would be life-changing as I navigate the challenge of saving money to move closer to the school to reduce the burden of commuting. This money would help me find housing and mentally focus on my studies without so many financial worries.