I have struggled with anxiety and depression and that’s what took me out of regular college, I guess you could say. I was just completely overwhelmed and I kind of lost it. I came back to the city and I was working and living with my dad. After about a year, I was at a point in my life where I realized that if I didn’t go out and seek more help, I would end up needing someone to give that to me.
I had been talking to my therapist about how I was missing a community and how I needed to go back to school. She told me about this program and said, “It could be an amazing experience for you.” She put me in touch with Jason Bowman (Director of College Re-Entry) and from that point on I just went with it.
For me, if I were to describe College Re-Entry to somebody, I would say, “It’s a place where they remind you how to be you.” That’s the best way I can say it.
My big hesitation about this program at first was, what’s the point? I know how to study. I know how to do this. I’ve got this down. My issue is not school; my issue is myself, what’s going on with me. But through the process of learning how to take notes or mindfulness or cooking class or whatever, I ended up learning about myself. I found out what I was capable of and grew my understanding of my strengths. I grew my confidence. In the end, I realized it was about me the whole time.
College Re-Entry is about you figuring out what you want and what you need. For me, I had never taken the time to listen to myself. I had never taken that time to learn about myself. So it’s given me a lot more confidence and has been like a stepping stool to stand on in terms of my own mental health. I found my baseline, what I can do, and what I struggle doing.
Addie visiting the Bideawee Shelter with her fellow CRE students
The thing with mental illness, or mental health issues, is that people are always like it’s not you or you’re not crazy or whatever. It’s just a very complex situation. When I was younger, before I went through the actual depression I went through, I was enthusiastic about school. I was capable of doing all of these things. College Re-Entry helped me get back to that. They didn’t help me change. They didn’t build new habits in me that made me a better person. They helped me come back to me and that’s what I think is the beauty of it. It’s completely individualized. That’s why College Re-Entry is beautiful because it reminds you that you are not like everyone else. It reminds you that you are yourself. You have issues, but you know how to handle them. They remind you, just to be you.
By Addie Ballard, College Re-Entry Student