Gratitude for Who I Become: I Am Thankful for My Family

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Table of Contents

  • Background
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • What Changed Me
  • What Changed in Me
  • What I Am Working On
  • Who I Hope to Be?

For as easy as it sounds to write about it was quite hard for me. I was born on February 21st of 2000. I was born on President’s Day that year. I was born in Voorhees Township and grew up in Winslow Township. My parents are Mark and Kristie. My family tree consists of partial Italian and German from my dad’s side and Irish and English on my mom’s side. My grandmother is Italian so that’s what I mostly grew up around. My dad grew up in a larger mostly Italian family. He has two brothers, which made things very chaotic when he was younger. My dad’s side of the family is very loud people, we tend to scream and make fun of each other but not in a negative way. The older I get the most embarrassed I am when we go out to eat and my family is always to super loud people out of the whole restaurant. Although, that’s just who my family is, and I would trade them for anything. My mom grew up in a divorced family, my grandparents were not able to provide much, and she lived her life very independently. She wanted to be able to be there for my brother and me the way her mom never was. I am very grateful for who my parents are and how they chose to raise me.

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I have a little brother named Jared, a stepsister named Reilly, and two other stepsiblings who I do not associate with. I am the first-born in my family, using my mistakes that I have made throughout my life helps teach my sibling how to grow without making the same mistakes I did. I feel as though my younger siblings live so much differently than I did at there age even though I’m only five years older than them. I do make it my responsibility to teach them how to stay grounded, not be dependent on others, and stay true to yourself.

My parents divorced when I was in 3rd grade. It was the best option for my parents because they are just two completely different people. They still talk to each other and have a good relationship. However, they were not meant for each other. My parents are both in relationships now. My mom remarried in 2017 and my dad has been with his girlfriend for eight years now. The best this I got out of their divorce was my stepsister Reilly, who is my best friend.

Growing up in Winslow, its school system ranked lower than most schools in South Jersey because of the education quality, however, I am so thankful for the diversity that my school provided. People were less judgmental because a majority of kids in school came from lower-class families and the only reason people would judge was if you cared about school or not.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Answering the question “who am I” is quite difficult, because our lives are very wide that there are areas in our lives, we have may not remember. Sometimes, we do not see ourselves the way others see us. Not knowing what my best character traits are, I asked my mom, my boyfriend, and my therapist who I have been seeing for the past year. They described me as compassionate, self-aware, resilient, and enthusiastic. When it comes to my strengths, they believe in my dedication to everything I love, my good judgment and insight, integrity, and the empathy I show towards others. My weaknesses that others can see in me are the lack of confidence I get around others, overthink too much, my procrastination issues, I’m overly critical towards myself, and I have a hard time communicating and expressing feelings. This is definitely something that I have acknowledged over time and I am working to not let these weaknesses dictate my life.

What Changed Me

There are many different instances throughout my life which has formed me into the person I am today. I always look at the bigger picture in everything I do because I know that life doesn’t have to be so stressful as I can make it.

I always felt like I needs to be someone else I was to have others like me. Having a cousin, the same age as me without a doubt had its positives and negatives growing up. The two of us were always at war and jealous of one another. We thought we needed to be better than one another. I have since realized that we are the complete opposite from one another and there’s no reason to be jealous of someone I don’t want to be. I we both have different passions that we want to pursue.

Before high school and all the events that occurred throughout this time period, I was very outgoing, was the type of student who had to move around the classroom every week for getting in trouble for talking to other classmates. That is not who I am at all anymore.

The most drastic thing that has changed my life is being diagnosed with a hearing impairment in high school. I never heard as good as others growing up, but I didn’t think it was a big issue until my junior year of high school. I started to see an audiologist who recommended I buy hearing aids to help. I did not care about being judged for wearing hearing aids because being able to hear is much better than not hearing. Many people do not realize I have a hearing problem and think I’m ignorant, I am truly not trying to ignore people or make you repeat yourself ten times, I just don’t understand what they are saying. This surely does get to me quite often because many people I know can be impatient when it comes to waiting for me to comprehend conversations.

I keep my hearing impairment to myself when it comes to people, I am not close to. I chose not to share that information because most people think they need to treat me differently than others and raise their voices for me to hear, however, this is not the case. In high school, I pushed myself hard to get good grades, it was not easy for me as it was for others, however, I still refuse to let that stop me.

I have struggled with self-esteem issues in the past because my high school “friends” would put me down for not being as smart as them or just make jokes about me hearing because I was the easiest to make fun of. I have always been the type of person to just let things go and didn’t let it jokes to me. Yet, it did decrease my confidence.

Another big change in my life was during senior year of high school. I had gotten genetics testing done for my hearing, which my hearing issues come from my dad, I found out that I have a gene variant called Long-QT. The gene causes irregular heart rhythms, which means your heart muscle takes longer than normal to recharge between beats. Also, within the same appointment discovered I have had undiagnosed scoliosis for the past eighteen years of my life. I was then prescribed beta-blockers to help regulate my heart rhythm to decrease the chances of developing Long-QT syndrome. Throughout that year, I was always tired, I became depressed and just did not feel myself. I made the decision after three months on the medication to stop due to the side effects. After stopping the medication, I felt much better than I previously did, yet, I still didn’t feel did not feel “back to normal”.

I chose to attend Stockton University my freshman year as a Health Science major. I decided to live on campus as a way to help with independent and learn to be more outgoing. I was diagnosed with severe migraines. I made the decision halfway through the first semester to move home and save money since I was driving home all the time for doctors’ appointments. Also, the fact that my five rooms near wanted to bound with each other. I was really depressed during the start of my freshman year things didn’t go as a hoped they would. My mom suggested going to therapy for my anxiety and an increase in depression. I am currently taking medication for my anxiety and depression and it has made a huge difference over the past year.

What Changed in Me

Realizing that not every very obstacle in life needs to set me back in life. Not everything that happens in one’s life is worth getting upset over, it’s just a waste of your time. There are more important things in life to worry about.

After my first year in college I chose to transfer to Rowan University to start over and change my major to Psychology which I am so much happier with than I was this time last year. From who I was as a kid and high school are completely different now. I consider myself as quiet when it comes to certain things, I hate being the center of attention, although, I will definitely share my opinion when it is needed. One thing that has not changed throughout time is the empathy I show towards others and the need to always help others because I truly care about people, this is the main reason I chose to major in psychology.

Going to therapy monthly has helped me so much. It has made me realize what I want for myself in life. I am working to be more open and mindful. I do not care about opinions from others about myself, I will live my life how I want to. Feeling like you need to be someone you’re not to satisfy others is not something I am interested in doing anymore.

The most important people that have helped me change who I am are my boyfriend, best friend, and therapist. My boyfriend of almost two years has really helped me open up, be more outgoing, and be happier with myself. My best friend understands who I am and are the best to vent to and act myself around. Friends are people I can trust and do not judge me for who I am. I’m so happy I found new friends and chose to distance myself from my “high school friends”.

What I Am Working On

The most important thing I need to work on is how to communicate better with others. I tend to get so overwhelmed in my head that expressing how I feel becomes difficult for me. It takes time to process my feeling and learning how to deal with them. I also want to be more outgoing and chase after the things that I want for myself now and in the future. Lastly, I want to be able to control my reactions and not get defensive over the small things that have little to no meaning to who I really am. If people truly care about me they will accept me for who I am and not make me explain myself.

Who I Hope to Be?

I plan to graduate with my master’s in psychology to specialize in either cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy. I hope to have the opportunity to study abroad to learn about different cultures and how individuals in these cultures live and think differently from Americans. The purpose of my career is to be able to help others in ways they thought would not help. In the next fifteen years, I would like to be living on a lake somewhere, but still close enough to a city. I want children but most importantly dogs. Maybe have my own vintage store when I plan to retire later in life.  

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