By Shannon Pagdon
One of the most difficult aspects of being diagnosed as mentally ill with my schizophrenia was the reaction I would get from people when I try to tell them what was happening. It was scary; these people I used to call friends started cutting me out of their lives. Like a piece of gum stuck to the sole of their shoe, they would continue to drag and scrape until my existence was completely erased for them.
I saw the College Reentry program as a second chance when I was living in New York. I didn't realize I would make such good friends or that it would completely change my outlook on my situation and the way I viewed myself as a whole.
I found the program while conducting a search online for mental health resources in the city. Right off the bat, I found it really intriguing, especially considering it was specifically for young adults like me. There are many aspects of the program I found particularly helpful. I found the exercises in which we practiced being grateful really wonderful. It was educational, and meeting others who shared some of my struggles was a major breakthrough as well.
Shannon celebrating her birthday at the High Point Farm
Here I am a year after the program, and I can safely say that words cannot express how grateful I am to the College Re-Entry program for helping me to get to where I am right now. I'm successfully back in school and I have managed to maintain stability in my life. I'm not seeing schizophrenia as a parasite on me anymore, rather it's just another layer of the complex pieces of myself. I feel completely optimistic regarding my future, and happy to be where I am.