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Wish list: Jeannette - Applying for a free China Internship!

My name is Jeannette and I have learned what it takes to have ambition.  I knew at a young age I never wanted to go to college because at eleven years old my mom got injured at work and it quickly down spiraled into something much worse.  Within a few short months she developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), a complicated nerve disorder that causes pain and slow deterioration of the body. We also never foresaw the coupling diseases that would add on over the years. I grew up so fast and I pushed away people because I no longer was able to connect on a fun and interesting level with people my age. So I put on a façade and took on a job to try to help my family. We fought and watched my mother go in and out of hospitals and knock on deaths door a few too many times.

Then out of nowhere I met Colin in high school and he was the friend that held me up between two unstable legs with a mind that was ready to unwind. He let me release the pent up anger and anguish I built up throughout the years. He was my support but I still down spiraled and ran with the wrong crowd and turned to the wrong alternatives in my life, and had no future planned. The last painstaking step was my parents leaving before high school was over, leaving me alone.  I chose to no longer care. Then on snowy day in January, Colin handed me a college acceptance letter, he risked our friendship to steal personal information and try to map out a future for me away from the people and things that were the causation of my fragile state. At first I leaned toward blowing him off and sulking in my pain but he said something to me, he said "Jeannette, you will die someday and I want you to promise me that before you close your eyes, before your last breath, you'll be happy that you did something amazing." Not the most gentle words but at the time, I was leading a life no one would remember.

I took the offer he gave me and attended school and up rooted my life 1500 miles to start over. It was hard moving on campus and falsifying emotions; however I went out of my comfort zone and met people. Two short months later I was raped September 11, 2009. After that I made no effort to be better. Sophomore year I reached out to Colin who persuaded me to use my voice and seek justice and live my life. He convinced me one person doing something terrible to me cannot decide my future. I agreed on a rainy awful day on the beach to live a life fighting for what I wanted. I planted my feet in the sand and welcomed the surf with such affection. I closed my eyes and for the first time in a long time I felt at home. A few weeks later I was a Marine Biology major trying to find hope, and keep my promise.

I started working for Disney, though I was not truly happy, I was determined to try. I took on an internship and two jobs and went to college and piled on the work load of my new found love and I did well. Then out of nowhere after just talking to Colin shortly before, I got a call at 3:41am, November 26th that he passed away. At this point my strong mental facade that I had built up diminished. The carefully bandaged cracks sprung leaks in my façade and for my junior year I struggled. It was the people I met and the obstacles I accomplished that got me to believe that life can be truly amazing. I just decided to finish what I started.

I lived at Disney the summer before my senior year and lived in my car in the fall. I still kept positive because I knew I could not give up, I had to graduate.  Now post graduation I’ve realized it’s not about keeping my promise to Colin, fixing my family, or pleasing people. It's about doing my best and going after the dreams I want. This China internship offers a chance to peruse something worth while and life changing. I want to accept the challenge and make the life I fought so hard for to be awe inspiring. This opportunity gives me that chance to put the hard work and dedication I learned to excellent use.
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