One might be thinking what I mean by “Growth in Reverse.” Unlike other children, I recall growing up learning how to face challenges that are to be faced during adulthood – challenges related to finance, health, career, and more.
Born, August 18th, 1995 into a hardworking, motivated and successful family. My grandparents had their own business. My father and mother had only been married for a couple of years, and were working together making safety glasses out of the basement of my grandparents’ house. My brother who is 6 years older than I had just been finishing up elementary school, but, while being a boy, was thinking about a career during his spare time. This is just the beginning and a summation of what started my growth in reverse.
After I went through preschool, I started elementary school at age 5. School was NOT a place I called home. School was by no means enjoyable for me as a child. I struggled to do well academically. I struggled to find a purpose. Friend-making was less than successful. I was not that energetic, enthusiastic little girl. I was that shy, introverted, and quiet little girl. Apparently, because I was born into a hardworking family, I wanted to be an entrepreneur too. At five years old, generally, little girls played with toys that were tangible and that did not really relate to anything in real life. Well, guess what I played with? A cash register, a computer, artificial credit cards, and artificial checks. Yes. . . I graduated from using my cash register at some point during the end of my elementary years, but my obsession with retail technology was not over.
While still in elementary school, there was a lot of health problems in my immediate family. At 5 years old, I lost my grandfather (mother’s side) to kidney disease and heart failure. My grandfather and I had a great relationship even when I was only a little girl. Shortly after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother (father’s side), the one who owned the business, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was told she had less than four years to live. So far, not the typical lifestyle for a 5-year-old to go through, OR maybe so. When my grandmother found out she had cancer, adaptations had to be made throughout my family. At the time, the business had already moved and grown larger, but, my grandmother had to give up her position. My mother was working part time while caring for my brother and me. My father was working full-time in his optical shop within the business to further support the household. The stress levels were very high.
While my grandmother was fighting cancer, my other grandmother (mother’s side) had been living with me and my family. My grandmother previously had a stroke and was paralyzed on her left side, so we had to take her under our wing. After a few years , my grandmother fell and broke her hip. Around this same time frame my other grandmother’s cancer had been getting worse which required my family and I to be of more assistance. It got to a point where life had gotten really chaotic. Both grandmothers needed immediate attention. Mom and dad were working day in and day out to support the household, making trips back and forth to my grandparent’s home, to support my grandfather and to help prepare meals. All of this was happening while I was finishing up grade school. Just a few more examples of growth in reverse.
Upon arrival to junior high, I struggled with the same problems I struggled with during elementary school. Making friends was not easy. I could not find a way to enjoy what I was learning and I was finding myself to feel different from my high school peers. Instead of going to the cafeteria during lunchtime, I would spend my time in the learning center getting ahead of my course work. I was part of sports teams like soccer and track and field, but, both teams were not helping me socially. I had just begun to accept this idea of growth in reverse.
Growth in reverse for me meant watching and helping my family get through their real-life challenges. Growth in reverse for me meant accepting the fact that I had to get through elementary school and junior high without wanting to quit. Growth in reverse for me meant switching from using a fake cash register to working for the family business. All of these challenges have directed me toward what I thought would be my dream job. More to come in the following posts.
Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author: