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Interview with Brienna Carter, Computer Science Intern 2014-2017

Dear BRAVE Humans,

It’s me, Meaghan! I’m back with more good vibes. And, today I am happy to provide you with the words and wisdom of Brienna Carter!! From the very first time I met Brienna, she has proven again and again to be a truly impressive and delightful human who engages with learning, leading, lending and loving - not just sometimes, but everyday. Her positive energy and unwavering love for life and for learning are palpable and persistent. This is what makes her presence so awesome and so impactful.  I believe anyone who has the privilege to know her, knows exactly what I mean.

First, I will take this opportunity to brag a bit about Brienna and how truly AWESOME she is. Let’s start by breaking down ALL that she did during her time as an intern and student member. First, Brienna has served on our organization’s Communications Committee, collaborated with Board Directors, other interns and other students. Brienna also played an integral role in building our organization’s website, along with many of our digital spaces, including our newsletter, blog and other platforms. Brienna was involved with all aspects of the BRAVE organization and I admire her commitment to our mission and to her role in bringing our mission to life. She has been a valuable member of the ITHS BRAVE team and has made tremendous contributions, unmatched by anyone, to the entire BRAVE organization. It seems every time we needed her help and expertise she came through with impressive results and unfailing kindness. Brienna is an amazing young woman. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with her and to get to know her. I will be forever grateful to have had the wonderful opportunity to work with and learn from her.  She is a true BRAVE leader and I am certain her future, at Yale University next year, and beyond, will be filled with success and happiness. Basically, she is a total ROCKSTAR!!

In celebration of all she is and all that she has contributed to the BRAVE mission during her three years of service on our team, I would like to share some of her reflections, memories and lessons she shared with me in a recent interview. My questions and her responses are below!

Read on and live BRAVE, friends! Who is ready to change the world?!

Peace & love,

Meaghan

What was your favorite BRAVE project that you worked? Please explain.

Most of my projects have been more so updates to existing work (i.e. the website, newsletters, etc) with the exception of one: the student resources site (which has fallen to the wayside recently but was active and accurate in the 2015-16 school year). Being given the opportunity to create something of my own from nothing was daunting but exciting. Amidst the frustration of Google Site's coding restrictions rose a great pride for my final piece that I could proudly say I made myself.

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What did you learn during your experience with BRAVE?

Aside from the expected learning experience from being a Computer Science Intern (developed coding skills, became more familiar with more website design programs, etc), I've learned time management. Time management has always been a bit of a problem for me as procrastination always looms, but with BRAVE I tried to complete tasks as fast as possible. An email from Meaghan would come in, and I would get on completion immediately when I got my hands on a computer sending a signature "Done!" upon finishing. In contrast, my school work senior year would be "Done!" the morning of being due. The habit I got myself into with BRAVE and stood by most of the time eliminated much stress from my life and for sure benefited all parties in question. In my coming college years, I hope to continue this BRAVE mindset and stay in control over my work.

What is your ultimate BRAVE moment of glory (MOG)?

My first project for BRAVE was to put a calendar on the site. With my new-intern excitement, I told Meaghan this would be no difficult task and surely inserting the calendar wasn't. It was individually putting in all the events that was―every meeting, fundraiser, school function, holiday. But nevertheless, I persisted. For about a year I'd get calendar updates quarterly from Meaghan and embark on the tedious task of creating singular events encapsulating each piece of information from times to location. Meaghan knew this was ineffective, so the calendar project was rebooted once more. Creating a calendar capable of automatically transferring events from BRAVE's Google account to the website was life-changing to say the least (despite the fact that this was all on the now usurped WordPress site BRAVE used to use). My life became easier, I saved plenty of time and frustration, Meaghan was happy, it looked prettier than the old calendar: all was well.

What will you miss most about being the BRAVE Computer Science Intern?

Though this doesn't necessarily cease with the end of my internship, I think I'll generally miss being a part of the BRAVE family. The always joyous emails from Meaghan and interns kindly requesting updates to the site or help with tech were never a burden but a pleasure. The tasks were usually not too difficult and it was more than worthwhile upon receiving consistent gratitude for my work. Not only this, but I loved the work and it felt good to be contributing to something impactful. In more recent times, a communications committee was created to improve BRAVE's communication within the organization and with the community. Being a part of the quarterly video chats with Meaghan, the college interns, and Adam was not only a great learning experience but once again allowed me to contribute to something greater and advance BRAVE's goals. In summary, interning for BRAVE has helped me do good and feel good about doing it, and those are the things I'll miss.

What will you take away from your experience and bring with you wherever you go beyond BRAVE?

The only reason I can even type these blog responses as an outgoing intern is because one day I took a risk of sorts, because I was brave. Meaghan came to my high school one day in my sophomore year to introduce BRAVE in hopes of beginning a chapter. I attended the preliminary meetings without intention of intense involvement in the club, let alone the organization. At one of these introductory meetings, Meaghan mentioned in an aside that she was looking for someone to become a Computer Science Intern. Being ambitious and over-confident in my computer skills, I took a step out of my comfort zone to email Meaghan inquiring about the position, and here I am only leaving three years later. The amount of things I have learned about website development and the world of nonprofits and myself is amazing; opportunities have opened up for me and I have met incredible people. So what I'm trying to say here is that everyone should take risks and go for every opportunity offered, even if you think you are under-qualified or not old enough or just generally not good enough. Because most of the time, you are good enough. And if you aren't, the worst thing you'll get is a "no." Go be BRAVE.

Interview with Andrea McDermott, BRAVE AmeriCorp VISTA Member 2016-2017

Hello BRAVE friends! Guess?! You right, it is me again, Meaghan! And, in this post, I am SO happy to be presenting y’all with another interview capturing the beautiful soul of a truly compassionate and BRAVE human. Today’s post is meant to celebrate and recognize our very own Andrea McDermott and her incredibly successful and impactful year of service as our Americorp VISTA member. Andrea is one of my MOST FAVORITE HUMANS!! The entire BRAVE family has benefitted from her from contributions and her relentless kindness and compassion. Which is why we are so ELATED that she has agreed to stay on our team, as a very recently elected, Board Director!! Team BRAVE is better with her on it!!

Again, I have to use this space and opportunity to shine some serious light on all that is truly awesome about Andrea McDermott. All of her contributions embodied hard work, creativity, and true bravery! She is such a natural at building meaningful relationships. And, the relationships she creates are powerful and have the potential to bring more love, positivity and growth to our world. In just one year, Andrea developed amazing and powerful relationships with all of those lucky enough to spend time with her, including myself. Andrea sincerely cares about ALL those who are a part of her life. At every meeting and at every event -- with every email and with every interaction, she gives 110% in order to best support humans. That is always what is most important to her in the work we do at BRAVE -- supporting the humans who are part of it. There are not many people that live their lives like this. Andrea has a unique and beautiful energy that allow her to do this so well, with such grace and with great consistency. Andrea supports humans in their journey to discovering their own bravery and their own self-empowerment. She is a true BRAVE mentor and a fierce, life-long friend.

Sending so much peace and love and good vibes her way, today and always. Please congratulate her on her new job with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Hartford, Connecticut! So proud of her! Below, I have recorded some of the reflections, memories and lessons that she shared with me this summer. My questions and her responses are below!

Read on and live BRAVE, friends! Who is ready to change the world?!

Peace & love,

Meaghan

 

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What was your favorite BRAVE project that you worked on this past year? Please explain.

My favorite project would have to be working on the conference. I remember when I first started last summer, we talked about the conference as a project that is something we were trying to do, but I wasn't sure what it would be like. After spending hours working with various interns, Board Members, and Meaghan, it was so amazing to see this idea brought to life in the realest and biggest way possible. We had such a successful first conference - we had over 90 participants, multiple student and professional presenters, and an overall fun day, I can't wait to see what next year's conference is like! Seeing everything from the conference itself to the tiny details like making sure that appropriate signage was hung up around the conference venue showed me how any idea - no matter how big or small - can be brought to life if you have the determination and support to do it.

What did you learn during your experience with BRAVE?

I learned so many wonderful things during my experience with BRAVE. First, and most importantly, I learned that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I learned how to redefine my idea of what success looks like. I learned that bravery doesn't exist solely in bold, big actions, but also in our everyday lives. For example, I don't have to be rescuing a kitten from a tree to be considered a brave person. I can be brave by being myself as often as I can, by speaking up for the things I believe in, and even by being silly! I learned how to communicate better. I learned that self-love is imperfect, difficult, and completely worthwhile. I learned that being vulnerable and uncomfortable can be good for you, and often times, it's one of the best ways to learn and grow. I learned that there is beauty in the many different ways people get things done. I learned that there are people who will support you and have your back always. I learned that I am never going to have to face anything alone, because I will always have my BRAVE family. I am so excited to take all of these things I have learned with me in the future! They are life lessons I will carry with me forever.

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What is your ultimate BRAVE moment of glory (MOG)?

My ultimate BRAVE MOG was when I was given the Mentor of the Year Award at the BRAVE Awards Ceremony. I was not expecting to receive an award that night, and to hear that my efforts to support everyone in BRAVE were appreciated and recognized was so special and incredibly humbling. It helped solidify the idea that being yourself is a BRAVE endeavor!

Do you think your ideas of bravery (or leadership or empowerment) has changed or grown since you first started with BRAVE last summer? Please explain.

My idea of empowerment has definitely changed since I first started with BRAVE. I always thought that you needed other people to make you feel empowered and good about yourself, but that simply isn't the case. To me, self-empowerment means being able to find the power within yourself (that is there, has been there, and will always be there) to be your best self. Sometimes, it takes another person showing you how to do it in order for you to self-empower. It is a never-ending, imperfect, and challenging process, but it also teaches you how to love yourself better.

Limitations and New Experiences

Hello BRAVE Community!

My name is Jamiah and I have been with BRAVE for about a year now. My BRAVE journey started when I attended the very first UConn BRAVE meeting last fall as a college freshman. At this meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting former BRAVE intern, Brittany Kenyon, and AmeriCorp VISTA member, Andrea McDermott. (Shout out to those two for making my awkward, and quite nervous, freshman self feel comfortable in that meeting environment!) After attending weekly meetings, I knew I had to apply to be an intern. So I did! I was lucky enough to receive an offer to serve on the Organization (Org) Team as the Social Media Intern for the Spring 2017 semester. Without hesitation, I accepted the offer and started an internship that taught me so much, personally and professionally. After a very impactful and fun experience, I am honored to say that I will be returning as the Communications Coordinator and Org Team leader for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Spring Semester 2017 Intern Team

Spring Semester 2017 Intern Team

Towards the end of my first semester as an intern, BRAVE presented an opportunity to go on a service learning trip to the Dominican Republic that I could not pass up. After lots of planning and fundraising, myself and seven other BRAVE women traveled to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic where we spent ten days building a school and learning with the people who live there. We were also able to provide a collection of school supplies, medical supplies, and more to support the beautiful community we partnered with. In addition, we were able to come together to support the purchase and installation of a new roof for an existing primary school building. This would not have been possible without the INCREDIBLE contributions of a very generous donor, Padre Pio.

Each day presented us with many learning opportunities and reflective moments. Each night we discussed those opportunities and moments, which were centered around three questions.

  1. What were your own limitations when taking part in this experience? How was your thinking challenged?

  2. How do new ideas challenge old ways of thinking?

  3. Can equality and fairness coexist?

In upcoming posts, I will be sharing some insights into our thoughts and discussions on these questions as they directly relate to BRAVE's service learning trip.

I will start by sharing everyone's responses to the first question. This experience presented all of us with many moments where our own limitations became very prevalent. Read on to see what these BRAVE humans had to say about their limitations on this trip!

Question #1: What were your own limitations when taking part in this experience? How was your thinking challenged?

Heather Norris: One of my largest limitations in this experience was learning to understand my privilege. As a WGSS major, I learn a lot, and I mean a lot, about privilege. But what we don't really discuss is this privilege in relation to other countries and their experiences. I struggled going back to the resort each night knowing what I had just left. Knowing that although I had met some of the happiest people I've interacted with, their situation didn't seem right in my mind. But one night someone had mentioned that although yes it is difficult, we didn't choose the lives that we were born into. We see these people making the absolute best of what they were dealt, and that is all we can hope for. They are happy with the people around them and view material and monetary value much differently than our society does. Looking at it more through this lens impacted me much more deeply than the original thoughts had about the 'unfairness'. Rather, I wanted to be more like them and not take any individual in my life for granted. Looking around and realizing just who is around you and how they impact you and make your life wonderful matters more than anything, and that is what creates happiness. Not a house, or a toy, but friends and family.

Shelby Mehmet: One of my limitations on this trip was my fear. Not fear of being away from home or not being able to communicate because of the language barrier. My fear came from my thoughts of not being good enough or doing or saying the wrong thing. As the week went on though I started to let go and challenge this by not worrying so much about it. I kept telling myself that "it's alright to be silly and just have fun and so what if others laugh, I will laugh too". Being aware of this limitation and reassuring myself of my own abilities, embracing my mistakes and learning and growing from them has allowed me to challenge this fear.

Andrea McDermott: When thinking of how to answer this question, two limitations come to mind immediately. The first is my limited Spanish speaking abilities, and the other is my lack of experience working directly with children (especially ones that speak a different language than myself!). The language barrier definitely challenged me to think back to what I learned in my Spanish classes from high school and college. I was able to remember more than I thought I would, but there were several times where people were talking around me and I had no idea what they were saying. I often found myself thinking - is this what many immigrants feel like? Where you have so much to say but don't know how? How frustrating but also uniquely inspiring to be surrounded by people who can communicate in a way you don't fully understand.. When it comes to my lack of experience working with children, I tried to push myself out of my comfort zone and interact with them as much as I could. These kids were so welcoming and loving it made it much easier to play and interact with them. The cultural differences between how kids and even adults interact with "strangers" or "outsiders" was astounding; I often found myself thinking about how kids in the U.S. would probably not be this loving towards strangers. Many families welcomed us into their homes, offered us beverages, or even to do our laundry! Overall, my thinking was absolutely challenged on this trip, both through trying to communicate in a language I am not fluent in, and in reflecting on the ways kids interacted with us.

Me: The most prominent limitations were probably my own emotions. There were many times where I was taken aback by the conditions that I saw. There were many times where I was filled with joy, excitement, and peace of mind while working on the school and interacting with the kids. One reason these emotions filled my heart because I knew the school we were building would provide so many educational opportunities that the kids working alongside me would be able to benefit from. But then there were times where I felt overwhelmed, helpless, and ashamed when I saw some of the living conditions people were living in. I just could not wrap my head around the fact that, on the day-to-day basis, I have access to education, a home, a loving family, and so much more when some people only dream of having those luxuries. After talking with Meaghan and other BRAVE members, I realized I was feeling this way because I was uncomfortable with my own privilege. So, I began to challenge my mind to think of ways that I could use my privilege to help those who were not as privileged. Many ideas came to mind and I look forward to putting them into action!

 

Have you had experiences with personal limitations during new experiences? Was your thinking challenged? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

Nightly discussion with the BRAVE crew

Nightly discussion with the BRAVE crew

So long for now,

Jamiah 

Meaghan's Message - July 2017

Hello BRAVE Humans! It is me, Meaghan! Thank you for visiting the BRAVE blog to check out this month's “Meaghan’s Message.”

Earlier this month, as many of you may know, the BRAVE team partnered up with some AWESOME humans from Canada and from the Dominican Republic to build a school in a community called Imbert, in Puerto Plata. Shout out to my fellow BRAVE travelers, and total rockstar humans: Jamiah Bennett, Mariel Amador, Heather Norris, Shelby Mehmet, Andrea McDermott, Rachel Eleiott and my mom, Marietta Davis! Our entire time in the Dominican Republic was one of those “totally epic, super emotionally charged, change your life forever, awe-inspiring, rock your world” type of experiences. It was an absolute honor and privilege to partner with Go, See, Do and the beautiful humans of Imbert as well as Las Hermanitas and all of the Dominican communities we had the opportunity to work and learn with during our visit. And even that description does not do it justice. I am not sure there are always words good enough to capture the highest potential of human emotions, human relationships, and human superpowers for positive change. However, that is not going to stop me from trying!!

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This month's “Meaghan’s Message” is dedicated to the beautiful opportunity I had to learn about the power and beauty of humans around the world as well as the opportunity to learn about myself, all while on our BRAVE adventure in the Dominican Republic.

So, when it comes to humans of the world, I think I learned and relearned a lot about how much goodness there is the world and specifically within so many remarkable people. I relearned that, no matter who we are or where we come from, we have so much more in common than we have different. And there is so much positive power in focusing on what makes us similar and learning from one another about our differences. This trip really reinforced the power of human choice. The people I had the privilege to meet and build relationships with taught me that happiness is a process and not a destination. Happiness is something that we can choose for ourselves. I saw them choose happiness everyday. They were amazing and I will never forget them and the happiness they brought to my life and my work.

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As for what I learned about myself, I think I am still processing a lot of it, but I know that I was challenged in many ways on this trip that were different and that were unique from any other challenge I have faced as a human or as a professional. I think that I learned that I could face those new challenges and through that discover new power, new strengths, new passions and new self belief. I feel self empowered in a brand new way, with great potential for the future. I learned that I am ready to employ all that I have to offer to be my best self and help change the world.

I am so fired up, so empowered, so proud, so humbled and so ready to continue the work we started this July in the Dominican Republic. As the BRAVE team transitions into a new year, we are preparing to continue our thoughtful engagement in the journey of BRAVE’s development of service learning! It brings out our best and bravest in such an organic and authentic way. Through service learning we can and will contribute even more peace and love to make our world better. We will never lose sight of what matters most; humans and their journey of discovering their self-empowerment and becoming their best selves. On behalf of the entire BRAVE team, we are so grateful to all those who contributed to and supported our tremendously successful service learning trip to the Dominican Republic. We are so proud of all that was accomplished and we look forward to all of the new and wonderful work ahead of us!

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In the video below you will see three clips from our trip. The first clip is me on our first day, sharing what I hope to gain from the experience of the service learning trip that we are about to embark on. The second clip is me reflection on the trip our first day home, back in the United States. I was asked to share a MOG, or a moment of glory, from the trip. I am getting goosebumps just thinking about it again!

Please check out our facebook page for more photos from our trip! Also, keep an eye out for many more posts sharing the voices of our BRAVE student leaders and their experience on this amazing trip!

Who is ready to change the world?!

Peace and love,

Meaghan

Humans of BRAVE: Rachel Eleiott

Today's feature is Rachel Eleiott, Cromwell High School Social Studies teacher and BRAVE's new Service Learning Coordinator! Rachel played a large role in our very first international service learning trip to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We are very thankful for all of the amazing work she put in and we cannot wait to see what else she has in store!

Meaghan talked with Rachel after our trip to the Dominican Republic about bravery in her personal life and in the context of her service learning experience. Read on to see what Rachel had to say! 

What do you believe it means to be BRAVE?

Um...I believe every morning when you wake up, all the choices you have in life -- I would say making the right choice is what makes you brave. Always putting your best foot forward and tapping into your potential every single day -- and also not worrying what other people feel or think about you.

What is the BRAVEst thing you have ever done?

The bravest thing that I ever had to do was love myself enough to know I could do anything, I could be anything, I could achieve anything for myself. I always had a tendency to let other people tell me what my worth was and it took me 28 years to realize that all I needed was within me.

What was the  moment that this manifested for you?

Traveling for me. But last summer when I decided to go by myself and teach English in a foreign country --  it taught me more about myself than any college education or any other life experience.  

How did you see BRAVEry exist among and within the humans you met in the Dominican Republic?

I mean it just comes down to choices and it seems like the people I met they choose to be happy, to do something in their community. They choose to open their homes and their hearts and their life experiences and that takes bravery because here (in the USA) people are so afraid to show their emotions or be vulnerable or you know connect to other people. And it just seemed there (in the DR) that bravery was in every fiber of who they were. Not to say that they had perfect lives at all but just the teachers and the children and people like Karina they made a choice and that was to be brave and to be themselves.

To learn more about Rachel, follow her blog here!

Meaghan's Message - Time Abroad!

If you're lucky enough to intern for BRAVE, it's likely that you know Meaghan likes (is obsessed with) Ed Sheeran's newest album. Skip ahead to the first time I watched the newest Meaghan's Message (totally not five minutes ago...), waiting to see which Ed Sheeran song she'd picked. My bet was on Galway Girl because she put that song on during conference prep (read: forced me to listen) for what seemed like 16 hours straight (and concurrently, it's the only one I know). I was wrong though, she chose the song Barcelona. I am not bitter at all. And that's totally not why I'm bringing up her luggage going missing (no worries she got it back!). 

This month, Meaghan talks about the importance of travel in her life. I know that everyone says they want to travel, but Meaghan actually makes it happen. A lot. It doesn't matter her current situation, she prioritizes traveling and so it comes to fruition. It's one of the things that makes Meaghan so cool. Sunglasses emoji. I hope y'all can make some time this summer to go somewhere, whether it be Barcelona, or a state away. 

So without further ado, here's the June edition of the super awesome, highly anticipated (by me, because I'd been living vicariously through the travel pics Meaghan uploaded to Google Photos. Thanks Meg that was not torture at all!!!)  Meaghan's Message!

Rewind: Spring Wrap Up

Hello brave humans!

With the closing of the university semester comes the close of BRAVE programming. Take a look at our rewind video featuring highlights from the 2016/2017 school year!

Want to stay in touch with BRAVE throughout the summer? We're still here! Subscribe to this blog up top, as well as our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat: @girlsarebrave) to stay connected and inspired throughout the break! 

Thank you all for your support!

Stay brave y'all,

Serena :)

Meaghan's Message - 30 Day Challenge

Hello beautiful brave humans!

Meaghan decided to make herself a 30 day challenge to create more balance in her life. This one is focused on 30 days of fun, because we don't often make time for fun. Sad face. Meaghan explains her reasoning behind this challenge pretty well in this video, so go watch it! Except the part where she says I can't count to 30. That is untrue. In fact, out of the 3 kinds of people in the world (those who can count and those who can't) I am the former. 

I've listed Meaghan's full list below the video, so check it out! Then go make your own 30 day challenge! Make sure to tag us @girlsarebrave and use the hashtag #BRAVE4Balance :) I'm making one! Here's a sneak peak:

#1 - Wipe the tire tracks off my face from Meaghan throwing me under the bus 

#2 - Buy some math flashcards

#4 - Cry

 

Totally kidding. I am salt-free. Like McDonald's.

That's it for today my friends!

Peace out,

Serena

Try a new food 

Attend free art/performance event 

Go for a walk 

Batting cages 

Don't check email for 24 hours 

Purchase something new 

Listen to new music 

Rediscover music you love 

Read for fun 

Road trip to another state

Penny flip driving 

Play basketball at the park

Sit out on the porch for sunset

Eat ice cream

Juggle a soccer ball 

Take 1 creative picture everyday 

Go to the beach

Get a library card 

Go to a book store and browse 

Laser tag 

Pet a dog 

Cookout 

Go see live music

Go to the movies 

Visit friends 

Stargazing 

Stretch/ meditate 

Get a tattoo 

Go bowling 

Pay it forward 

Positive notes to the public

 

Humans of BRAVE: Rachel Tessler

Hello brave humans!

Today's Humans of BRAVE showcases an individual who is empowered by her choices by choosing to see the good throughout a struggle. How do you empower yourself through your choices?

Have a day friends :)

Serena

Rachel Tessler, the brave human on the right, pictured with our fab intern Lucia!

Rachel Tessler, the brave human on the right, pictured with our fab intern Lucia!

“It started when I was 4, I got bitten by a tick on my face and I was undiagnosed with Lyme for two years; had quiet seizures, not concentrating, really exhausted. At 6, it got really bad; I had spots on my face. I didn’t go to school full time. I missed many subjects. That’s why I still feel there are gaps in knowledge that I have. I couldn’t do sports, I couldn’t do what the other kids were doing. I couldn’t play at recess. As a kid, you don’t know what to do in order to work around that, especially if you don’t have the resources. That’s when I turned to theater at 9 years old. I was getting more entranced in all that and I found a group of people. As I got older, I realized that I can do the other things that other people can do. I can’t let being sick hold me back. I managed by just pushing through and asking for help when I needed it, I tried to find ways to show that I was a hard worker. I sought out what I needed to move forward. I always asked for help, I always tried really hard on assignments and my grades would go up and I would call people to get information. Also, seeking help from friends helped, especially in college. They helped me realize the potential I have to manage and lead. I didn’t think I would be where I am today. Personally, I didn’t think I would be at UConn or at a school like this. With my persistence and my ability to manage what limits me, I was able to do it. I still struggle, I still have tics, I’m still tired. But over time, I learned how to manage it and be the best I can be. I always used to think what would happen if I didn’t get sick. I constantly had that thought going through my head. I recently only stopped having that because I was really happy with where it led me. I don’t think I would have the same personality growing up the way I did. I like to think I am an empathetic person and I don’t think I’d be as empathetic if I hadn’t gone through it. It led me to theater and I’m super thankful. I was exposed to that because I couldn’t run and it led me to those people who are doing good in the world. I’m more exposed to good now because of what happened.”