Alexandria Johnson
Class of 2016
Major: Communication Minor: Business

Freshman year wasn’t easy for me. I thought I was the only student who didn’t think college was the right path for them. Everyone else seemed so happy and seemed to fit in, but I went home every chance I could get and cried every time I had to come back. So basically, I went home every weekend and every school break. You name it and I was home.  I wasn’t able to do anything without shedding a tear. I didn’t think I would make it a month, let alone another week.

you are not alone

My advisor, Rachel, advised me to contact a woman in the office, Barbara, about my troubles. During my first meeting with Barbara, I was a mess, but she calmed me down and offered to meet with me every week. So I went to her every week
after that just to have someone to vent to and talk to. Later on I got involved in sports which helped keep me distracted about not being home. I also made myself weekly to-do lists and a huge calendar so I could see what was due weekly and monthly. This helped lower my stress load by a ton because it had me look at a smaller picture rather than the whole thing. When you think that you’re the only one having a tough time adjusting to college. You’re not alone there are many other students out there who feel the same way. Just take it day by day and you will get through it. Just like I did.

Sophomore year wasn’t easy for me either. I had mono all summer and thought I was healthy again going into August of sophomore year, but oh, was I wrong! The second week in October I went to the doctor for a cold and blood was taken. And guess what…I had a Mono again! I was sent home for 2 weeks to be on bed rest. Now being sent home from High School for two weeks is okay, but college? I was freaking about everything I would be missing because missing a day of college is like missing a week of material. I came back after the 2 weeks to find that all my professors were really understanding about the whole situation. They let me take my time and hand in everything I owed when I could. I ended up finishing the semester with a 3.4 GPA.

This is not where the story ends.

Spring semester of that year, right near finals, my grandfather passed away. I had to deal with studying for finals and the emotions that came with his passing. Let me tell you, that wasn’t easy! I was on the phone with my parents constantly crying. I managed to study and clear my head. Surviving being homesick, having mono and my grandfather passing away,  made me see that when I set goals for myself I can accomplish them. It just takes a little push to get you started.

don't give up

It was my 21st birthday and I was all excited to celebrate it on Saturday April 25th 2015 with my friends and family. I was headed home on Friday the 24th when my mom called and said to go to my grandmothers. I did not think anything of it. I walked through the door and my mom told me my uncle/godfather passed away. I thought they were kidding, I thought I had more time with him, but ALS wasn’t a forgiving disease. He was diagnosed in January 2015 and we were told we had a couple of years. It ended up being two months. Later that night my family and I were gathered in our home when my mom got a call from my grandma saying my grandfather only had a few hours left. My grandfather was sick from dealing with Alzheimer’s and was moved to a nursing home two weeks prior.  My mom started throwing things together into a bag and my dad took her down to her parents. They were 20 minutes away when she got the phone call at 1:20 am “he has passed” my grandma told her. Having just lost 2 members of my family made my birthday weekend hell.

The following week was not easy. I had the calling hours for my uncle and grandfather on April 28th (uncle) and April 30th (grandfather). Then I had the funerals April 29th (uncle) and May 1st (grandfather). To top it all off May 1st was the one year anniversary for my other grandfather. Losing two family members lead me to miss that whole week of school. If it was not for the support from my family, friends and professors, I would not have been able to make it through that week. I know life has its funny little ways of getting in your way, but it only makes you stronger. I learned that from losing an uncle, grandfather, and having a one year anniversary for another grandfather all happen within the same week. When life throws you its little curve balls, everyone is there to help. Just do not be scared to ask.

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Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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