Perseverance is defined by Google as the “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. During the “dark times” in my life, I never thought of myself as being anything good or positive; but I was so far from the truth! While I saw myself struggling and frustrated in life, other people where actually seeing my growth and development. Sometimes when you are too focused on the stressful parts of your daily life, you miss the best part of it all…and that is the way you are blooming and transforming yourself into someone others start to notice and even admire.
Maybe I felt frustrated because instead of realizing my gains and my successes, I was more focused on what I was missing or not acquiring in my life. However, here goes a little bit of the story…
I moved to Miami, Florida (USA) when I was 26 years old with my 5 years old daughter. I had NOTHING in my pocket. Just 8 bags and some boxes with my things, which I sent overseas from Puerto Rico. Meanwhile I stayed at my sister’s house for 2 months. During that time, I was able to get all documents I needed (like my driver’s license and my voting card), I registered my daughter at her school and purchased everything she needed for school (with my credit card), and in less than 2 weeks I had everything set to send her to school. I even got myself a car during that time! Not a bad start. I was lucky to have my sister’s support and I will forever be grateful to her and to my brother-in-law. In 2 months, I had moved to my own apartment and two weeks later I started working as a Temp at the company I still work for. I started as a Temp in October and was hired in January. Another accomplishment in such a short period of time.
Luckily, the Company offered tuition reimbursement and I decided to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree, for which I had already completed 85 credits in Puerto Rico, but it turned out that too many years had passed in between that the University only accepted 12 credits of those 85 credits and therefore, I had to start from scratch! Frustration! Simultaneously, my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and had to make the difficult decision of medicating her. Many people don’t agree with these type of medications, however mental health is a very important part of our health and if we get to drink a medication for our headaches, or for heart diseases, or for diabetes, or for high blood pressure, why is it seen bad to drink medication for our mental health? It is as important as any other health matter that we encounter; and she started the medication, which in fact helped her a lot in school.
So, there I was, single mother with a 5 year old (with ADHD), working Full-Time and also studying as a Full-Time student. It was HARD! I was exhausted! My routine was tough, waking up at 5:30AM every day, running to get to school, then to work, then to university, then back home (to cook and do homework with my daughter, which was extremely challenging due to her ADHD) and finishing my days at 12:00AM (because after finishing with my daughter and the house shores, I had to study). I can only say that it was overwhelming! But guess what? I did it! Day by day. Little by little. I was persistent. I didn’t give up, even when I really wanted to! But I persevered!
Taking care of a girl with ADHD is not easy! It is VERY challenging. The focus spam was so short! Picture this, with all those things I had on my plate, dealing with her was frustrating! I was exhausted already from my very busy schedule. But I had to help her as well with her homework. I would sit down with her and explain a math assignment (among other things). Then I would leave her on her own to finish the assignment. Mind you, she was sitting at the kitchen table…not far away from me. Meanwhile I cooked and constantly ask her out loud: “in which problem are you?” and she would respond: “I’m almost done!” So, when I would check on her progress (15 or 30 minutes later), she was still on the first problem! Oh My God!!!! Like WHAAAAT?! And this happened constantly!
My point with my story here is to let you know that even though life will be tough, frustrating, difficult, and might seem that everything you do is useless; trust me, it is NOT useless! My daughter is now 21 years old, and she never failed a school grade, never took summer school, she was accepted in College without a problem, and completed her AA in Business. She also has a certification in CPR and knows the basics of Sight Language. Not giving up on her and being persistent paid off. It took time. It took tears. It took many fights. But she is now a person I admire because even though she had many obstacles (and other issues I’m not even mentioning here) she also never kept on trying. She continues to work hard on everything she sets her mind on. She’s VERY clear in life! I trust that she will persevere in anything she wants.
As far as my part of the story, well…I finished my degree in 4 years. I took at least 9 credits every semester (Fall and Spring) and I had to take Summer Terms (12 credits every summer) in order for me to finish within the 4 years goal I set for myself. It was an accomplishment! I completed my bachelor’s with a 3.4 GPA, not bad taking into consideration all the struggles I was dealing with, and that English was my second language. Perseverance turned out to be an important quality of mine… Every time I doubt myself and my capacity, I re-tell this story to myself.
Now I tell you, my dear reader. I am not better than anyone. I am sure you have overcome many obstacles in your life, and you should also re-tell yourself those stories when your persistence took you into the road of success. You can also do ANYTHING you set your mind into. Sometimes it WILL be VERY hard. Sometimes people around you won’t support you. (Many people told me that I was crazy for leaving Puerto Rico with my daughter and without having a job in Miami). I think it was the best decision I made. Sometimes you will feel frustrated and discouraged; I felt like that many times. But if you can visualize a goal, then it means that you have the capacity to achieve it. You just need to be persistent!