Looking back to August, my main concern was surviving business school orientation. Those three days were a whirlwind: meeting new people, getting acclimated to chaos, all while trying to come to grips with the demands about to be placed on me. In the months since, I’ve survived about as well as I could have hoped. The end of the semester is in sight. In the blink of an eye it is already Thanksgiving; it is crazy how time flies.
The constant stress and hectic pace have worsened my muscle disease, which I knew would happen when I made this decision. Experiencing it in real time is frustrating. I am in constant fear of falling and getting hurt, and being too weak to perform basic daily tasks. I still worry that I will not make it through the entire program in one piece. But I must press on. Fear is not an excuse to stop.
More importantly, I have a lot to be thankful for. Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to remind myself of why this struggle is worth it.
First and foremost, I am thankful for the people I am surrounded by in my life. My parents mean the world to me. I am more reliant on them now than at any point since I was a young child. I have a wonderful sister and a young niece whom I adore. My friends – what can I say – they have seen my worst days, and my best. They are always there for me when I need them.
I am also thankful to have made so many friends already at Boston College. Although the small size of the class wasn’t my only reason for deciding to attend the program, it has made all the difference in enabling me to thrive. People know who I am, and they know what I am dealing with. I have taken advantage of the platform of Eagle Talk, a sort of TED talk for our MBA class, to tell my life story, and it has lifted a tremendous weight off my shoulders. People know what I am going through now and understand my vulnerabilities.
Second, I have my health. I’ve been sick a few times this first semester, as I got acclimated to being a student again and being in a building full of germs. When I am sick I am miserable, especially since I am so weak. However, it has given me a great appreciation for my overall health. I also know others who are going through much worse. Keeping this perspective is very helpful. Besides love, there is no greater wealth in the world than being healthy. We only get one shot at this life.
Lastly, I am doing what I want to be doing, even though I don’t yet know what I want to be doing. That may seem ridiculous, but it isn’t. I am motivated by change – making a positive change in my own life (furthering my education, and hopefully my income), and in the lives of others. I want to help as many people as I can, especially those with disabilities. The MBA program will lead me in that direction. I am beginning to understand my true purpose, which I realize is something that not a lot of people can say.
My condition is not something that I enjoy. But with a little reflection, and some time off to breathe, I get to see that there is so much more to life than my frustrations. Life is worth fighting for, every minute of every day.