Life is filled with uncertainties, obstacles, and barriers that are sometimes outside of our control. I was just the typical high school student with aspirations to graduate and go to college, where I would major in Nursing and a long-term plan of ultimately becoming a Nurse Practitioner. However, all that would change.
"My sudden illness was a giant monster that I had to defeat instead of letting it defeat me."
- Brianna B.
October of my Sophomore year I suddenly became ill with symptoms that varied from very simple to the extreme. I was experiencing migraines, dizziness, fainting spells, the inability to walk, swollen limbs, and seizure-like activities. This sudden unexpected event disrupted my academic life. I went from attending school daily to having numerous emergency room visits, specialist visits, and medical testing, and even with all of that, doctors were still unable to diagnose the problem. Everyone admitted that it was obvious that there was some kind of medical issue but could not give it a name because the symptoms varied from day to day.
"My teachers instilled high expectations and accepted nothing but the best from me."
- Brianna B.
What seemed to be a perfect year suddenly turned into my worst nightmare. Friends suddenly disappeared out of my life because people could not understand what was happening with me and began to think that I was faking an illness. High school suddenly became a lonely place for me. At times I went into a depressive state and stopped believing in myself. I questioned if I should just deal with my medical issues and repeat my sophomore year when I got better, but that wasn’t an option. I had an end goal of graduating in 2020 and I was determined to achieve it.
I would email my teachers and do my assignments in my hospital bed in order to stay on track or study extensively so that I could go into school for just a few hours, take a test, and then go back home. There were many times that my teachers doubted me and told me it would be best if I dropped out of the IB Program and go into the regular program, but I was optimistic. That year I missed about half of the school year but still managed to maintain high academic standards. My sudden illness was a giant monster that I had to defeat instead of letting it defeat me.
At the end of the school year, my family decided it would be best for me to enroll in a virtual school for my Junior year. Transitioning from the traditional school setting to virtual was very unnerving for me at first. But I looked at it as another obstacle and an opportunity to embark on a new journey. Virtual school not only allotted me more time to focus and complete my work, but I was also blessed with some of the most caring, kind, and supportive teachers. My teachers instilled high expectations and accepted nothing but the best from me. I continued to persevere and ended up staying in virtual school during my senior year as well.
I can now proudly say that I made it and my health is better. I ended high school with a 3.6 GPA, club leadership roles in the National Honor Society, Coding Club, International Club, Black Student Union, and over 300 community service hours. I never let my obstacles defeat me because I had a strong support system at home with my mother and grandmother. I was accepted into the University of Miami where I will work hard to fulfill my dream of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
- Brianna B.