At age 3, I almost made my mother faint by reading the word “zoom” off of a billboard with no assistance needed from her. That’s basically when my parents knew reading would be the biggest part of my life. My parents were not big readers, unless you count the Bible my father had on his bedside table. My mother has always been my biggest support system when it came to my love of reading. She would buy me YA books whenever she could and eventually started her own journey in avid reading because of me. The importance of reading started the day my parents adopted me.
My parents would read me a book every night without fail because they believed it would make me more intelligent. However, they only read me old nursery rhymes and the Berenstain Bears. Besides my child level books, we didn’t have many other books in the house. My father didn’t have the attention span to read anything but the Bible and my mom was too busy taking care of me. I was formally taught how to read in my Catholic school. When I came home one night and read perfectly out of a textbook, my mother cried tears of joy. From that day, she began to take me to a library nearby where she and I would stay and look at books for hours.
After my classmates and I were taught how to read, we were then allowed to go to our school library. The library was separated into two sections: one for the elementary school children and one for the middle schoolers. We had reading quizzes we had to take, and the school realized that I was far above the rest of my peers and allowed me to read in the other section. Something I had prided myself on in elementary school was being allowed to read books in the “big kid section” years before anyone else my age. The thing that piqued my interest in reading the most were the Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books. These were the books that made me want to write and read more. These were dark enough to please my soul and much more of a challenge for me to read, which I enjoyed. Needless to say, a lot of my friends quickly became concerned about me once they realized what I enjoyed reading.
As I got older, I was officially diagnosed with chronic depression and generalized anxiety. I had poor mental health my whole life but wasn’t recognized until I was in high school. Once in high school, I proceeded to start writing my own stories. Most of them were short and primitive with such dark themes that it worried my religious peers. Most were about my life and trying to personify my depression while others were dark twists on fantasy creatures like mermaids.
My early writing was terrible. Because of my mental illnesses not allowing me to focus, I would jump from one subject to the next in my stories and nothing ever made sense. For obvious reasons, this infuriated me and resulted in never finishing a single story I have ever written. This annoying habit has even followed me into academic papers where I will have to go back into my paper and add a paragraph or two. With time and patience, I’ve learned how to work my habit so it no longer hinders me.
Once I started college, I tried to give up my love of reading and writing. I was told by many people in my life that pursuing a degree in something like that would only serve to be a waste of money and time. I started as a computer science major, which ultimately made me more depressed. I didn’t go to a single class for months because my interest in my major wasn’t there. By the end of summer semester 2016, I was kicked out of college for my awful GPA. In those two semesters I was kicked out, I had absolutely no responsibility or job. I had a lot of time to look inside myself and analyze what went wrong and what I can change to be better.
In the summer of 2017, I lived in Michigan for 3 months to work before returning to college in the fall. While in Michigan, I picked my passion of reading up again with newfound friends who shared my love. The book that really brought me back was Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. I ate that book up within a week and regained that feeling of the real world melt from around me and the book come to life in my head. I decided to be selfish and change my major, even if it didn’t make as much money as my previous major.
There isn’t a second I regret switching majors. I regained a piece of who I am and became happier to go to class. Being happier in my major and life overall gave me the confidence to apply to write for the Odyssey here at Kennesaw State, which I have now been writing for since September of 2017. I began to actively try to expand my vocabulary in my free time and gained an amazing support system. My mother expresses how proud she is of me each and every day. My boyfriend expresses his interest in my major by learning along with me and always boosting my confidence when I allow him to read what I’ve written.
I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my major. Initially, it was to teach, but now I’m minoring in professional writing. However, the courses for my major interest me and make me excited for the future. My support system continues to push me on difficult days when I need it most as well. All of these things are the only proof I need to know that I am on the right track for my life and future.