Five years ago today, I walked out into the world with just my coat and my iPod that happened to be in my pocket. No ID, no money, no home, and no idea what in the world I was doing.
Since then, so many positive things have happened in my life. I re-enrolled in college and graduated from undergrad at Michigan State University with a Bachelors in Genomics and Molecular Genetics. I got my Masters in Biology from University of Washington. I started a PhD program in Evolutionary Biology at Michigan State. I have an apartment of my own complete with a closet full of clothes and a kitchen full of equipment. I have my own car (and I’m not sleeping in it!). I have awesome friends.
I had unbelievably amazing people facilitate this–people who took a chance on a random girl and changed her life. People who took me into their homes, people who fed me and watched Star Wars marathons, people who gave me a job babysitting during the summer so I could earn enough money to go back to college, people who helped me write scholarship applications, people who gave me job and research opportunities, people who gave me advice on how to take charge of my life, and people who were there for me when I needed it. People who became my real family.
I’m an insanely lucky girl. I look around and realize I couldn’t have gotten this far by myself. When I moved back to Michigan, I swear, the entire community came together and helped me out. Somewhere in the past five years, I stopped being a random girl and I became part of something. It’s mind-blowing to me that I got this far.
The day before, I did normal adult activities: I paid estimated taxes, I deposited money into a savings account, I got an oil change and a car wash, I made myself dinner in my apartment, I read comics, I did research, and I hung out with friends and baked cupcakes. I went through each task reveling in the experience (even paying taxes!) because five years ago, I could never imagine having such a normal day.
I believe what I want in regards to religion. I can have as much of an education as I desire. I can have any career that I want. No one can tell me who can be my friends. There are so few restrictions on my life.
Five years ago, I became in control of my life. Just look at me now. You helped me get here. I want to thank everyone, including the people who aren’t in my life anymore, for helping me get to where I am today. Thank you. <3.