I first heard about College Re-Entry when I was at Fountain House. One day, the counselor I was working with said I know that you are interested in improving your life and going back to school. There’s a program that just started and I think it might be great for you. I thought it was really interesting. I thought they were providing important skills that anyone could benefit from, not only for people going back to school after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder. They were teaching skills like note taking, advocating for yourself, speaking to your professors, and how to be in class. All those skills you need.
The first day was really intimidating because it was something new and I didn’t really know Jason or Julia or Anna that well. I knew there would be other students and I didn’t know any of them. I was kind of apprehensive at first. But I went there and started doing the classes, trying to make sure that I was there on time, that I completed all my work, and stayed on top of everything. Slowly, as I learned to master the skills better, I became more confident. I realized that when I went back to school I would have some tools I could fall back on in case I felt like I wasn’t keeping up.
I also learned about different resources at different schools so if I needed help I could use those. They also told all of us they would always be there to help us if we needed. All we had to do was make an appointment.
At the beginning of this year, I am leaving for China where I will be teaching English. College Re-Entry (CRE) helped me to get here. I have always been interested in Asian culture. Everyone at CRE knew that and encouraged me to go for it. I was like, “I tried once before and it didn’t work out.” I didn’t want to try again because I thought if I try, I’m going to fail. But they said just because you fail one time doesn’t mean that everything is going to fail as well. So you might have setbacks but those are still setbacks. You can try again and still move forward.
First I had to get my teaching certificate, which I got in May/June. After that, I started doing the applications to China, which was pretty long. A few companies contacted me which it didn’t really work out, but I continued to apply. This fall, around October, is when I heard from the company that I am going to be working for and later this week I leave. I can’t believe it!
Julie has been there with me, and Jason too, throughout this whole process. We are setting up video conferencing so if I’m ever having a hard time we can set up a video conference and they can help. They are still supporting me so even though I will be somewhere across the world, I still know that I can reach them and they will be there to give me some advice and support if I’m having a hard time. That’s really been great because I’m always thinking I don’t know what’s going to happen and am I ready to tackle it.
I think people should do CRE to help them move forward. If you’re at a point where you think that nothing is possible, that nothing will change. If you’re at a point where you think the person that you are is the person that you are going to be forever. Then I want to let you know that I felt that way and things did change. Just continue to take each breath. The possibility exists in the world that things are changing, that things are different, even if you can’t see it yourself.
So, take that one step. Apply to the College Re-Entry Program. Go and just give it a chance. Change won’t happen overnight, and you’ll still have moments where you ask, “what am I doing?” But over time you’ll start to slowly see things change.
Look at me; I’m going to China!
By Awa Lamare, College Re-Entry Student