On a warm spring day in my last week of high school, stopped behind a line of cars waiting for a bus to turn, my world came quite literally crashing down as I was rear-ended at 60 miles per hour.
A distracted driver came flying around a bend in the road so quickly that she went underneath my car, causing me a traumatic brain injury, a herniated spinal disc, spine misalignment, and years of pain, headaches, and migraines.
Everything that I had known about myself, from my positive outlook on life, to my intelligence, to my faith, was turned upside down as I landed into a world of hurt, headaches, and loss of memory.
Unsure of how else to continue my life, I started college, unable to remember new friend’s names, my schedule, or the notes that I had taken that day in class. I learned calculus with the help of seven separate tutors, unwilling to let math, a subject that was once a favorite, slip through my fingers. In my mind, my accident was an enemy, and I was fighting a war. I refused to let it win.
I spent all of freshman year going to doctors five times a week. In between my classes and tutoring, I went to physical therapy, chiropractors, neurologists, and pain management specialists. My mental state was one of constant tension, stress, and hurt. I was exhausted from the physical toll that constant pain, headaches, daily doctor’s appointments, and a learning disability can have.
Despite the circumstances, I refused to give in. While I had my dark days, I chose to be positive and keep my faith. Through everything, I made the effort to see how supported I was; by my church, by my parents, by my sister, and by the friends that had stayed by me through everything.
When faced with the choice of giving up, I chose not to. Working hard was how I managed to succeed my entire life, and I refused to change my belief that anyone can succeed if they try hard enough.
In my mind, I couldn’t fail; it meant losing my scholarship and my chance at an education. I had spent years working hard in school to go to college, and I didn’t want to throw my dreams of being a CEO away.
I didn’t discover until now, two years later, with my pain down from a nine to as low as a three and my doctor’s appointments down to only once a month, that the accident had shaped me without my control. Ultimately, I learned sacrifice, discipline, hard work, persistence, the value of a pain free life, and how lucky I was to have good health before the accident.
This accident, in some ways, has made me stronger, and taught me that I am capable of anything. Now, when I am faced with a challenge, I remember what I have gone through and how I have come out stronger. I know I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.