In September 2015 I suddenly found myself at the brink of homelessness. I was 26 years old and in the midst of a divorce. I only had $11.00 to my name. I realized that I did not want anyone else to pity me. I got myself into this situation and I was determined to get out of it.

I enrolled myself into the clinical mental health counseling program here at Canisius College. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and the small classes. Then during my second semester, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It almost seemed as though my life was a movie with a bad plot. I went from being a typical 26 year old to losing 95 percent of my vision in my left eye. Furthermore, I couldn’t walk properly and I suffered from burning muscle spasms.

I was very lucky to have had the support of my current husband. In addition to my support in my home life, multiple faculty members as well as my fellow classmates were very supportive to me. After a second relapse in 2016, I decided to take a year off of school and focus on myself.

I returned to school for spring 2018 semester earlier this year. I realized that I was out of school for one and a half years, and to top it off, I had a five month old baby at home. I developed an overwhelming amount of anxiety when I thought about leaving my child at home while attending classes part time. I decided that I would get counseling to assist me as I adjusted to all of the challenges of life.

With the help of my counselor and a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I was confused and then slowly it was like the last piece of the puzzle finally fit. I attended counseling diligently to assist me with my postpartum depression.

In the counseling program, the faculty members always emphasize self-care. It is difficult being a graduate student, let alone one with many different interpersonal issues. I took advantage of idea of self-care because now I have someone relying on me (my infant son). I learned to manage my time again, curbing procrastination and most importantly I learned that this is what I want to do in life. I want to be a mental health counselor specializing in addiction and trauma. I’m proud to say that I finished the semester with a 4.0. So my advice to my fellow graduate students is to take care of you first and then everything else will fall into place.