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  • Writer's pictureBri

Thought You Had It All Figured Out, Huh?

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

Hi. My name is Briyana, most people call me Bri. I graduated from UNCG in 2017, well technically 2019, but that's a whole notha story to get into. We'll save it for later...

When I graduated from college, I honestly thought that I had it all figured out. I had a job as a Literacy Lab Tutor in D.C. This job was going to give me a grant for grad school and everything! I honestly truly thought I had it all figured out... Then BAM! Life hit me.

It was September 2nd, 2017 and I'm driving back to Raleigh, NC to visit my mom for her birthday (which is on September 3rd). Now, I'm not too car savvy and my car at the time was a yellow 2008 G5 Pontiac. My 'check engine' light had been on for a week or so. I didn't think much of it because I thought it was just the car glitching since it was old.

Next thing I know, as I'm driving 80 mph in the fast lane, about 2 and a half hours from home... my engine blows! I mean smoke and all. Mind you, I was in the fast lane, so thank God I was able to pull over into the grassy area that was on that side. Cars were driving past me just looking. I am guessing someone called for help because 10 min later, a highway patrolman pulls up behind me to make sure I was alright. I inform him that I think my engine had blown. He goes to check my oil and says to me, "Ma'am, your car is bone dry". Meaning I didn't have ANY oil in my car. Which makes complete since as to why Bumble Bee (the name I gave my car) was warning me to check the dang engine! A good friend of mine was able to pay for me to get my car towed to the closest Flying J truck stop which is where I waited for my cousin to come get me and take me back to her house.

Fast forward a week or two, as I'm back at home in Raleigh, I'm realizing that this is where I'm going to be for a little while. I realized that from what the Literacy Lab paid me and all the expenses I had to pay for rent in Greenbelt, MD AND for a new car, there was NO WAY. I prayed for a miracle but I knew my time working in D.C. had to come to an end. I ended up not even being able to work with the children because that very next week, my step dad, mom, and I were towing my car with all of my things in it... back to Raleigh, NC.

A few months later, after I had adjusted to being back home, I was on the job hunt... HEAVY. If you've ever considered working for Vector then you KNOW you were in need of some money. I ended up working as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) for an assisted living home for the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer's. This job was physically and emotionally draining. Having to pick up the patients, change their diapers, and just ensure that they had the best quality of life was tough. Thus far in life, I have handled death well. However, working at such a place made me appreciate life more. Although the patients had these conditions, they were quite interesting to have conversations with. They would speak about their past and go on about how things use to be.

Now, I haven't been all the way open. There was much internal conflict in the months leading up to me finding this job. Having to deal with me borrowing my mom's car and hearing her say "Make sure you bring MY car back! Make sure you put gas in MY car! How long are you going to be out in MY car?" I put emphasis on the 'my' because that's how it felt. She made sure that I knew that I was using her car. Which is fine, it's just that it was a constant reminder that I had been irresponsible and careless when I had the chance to be an independent adult living on my own in my favorite city; Washington, D.C.

I just felt like I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like I was letting my talents, potential, and optimism waste away. That bright eyed girl was no longer there. You know how they say when you get older, you tend to let life overcome you and you don't really have that same optimism and hope you once had as a child. That's where I was, and it sucked. My anxiety started to kick in more than it used to and I had to start writing in a journal so I could at least have somewhere to put all my thoughts to not let them linger in my head for too long. I couldn't deal. I distanced myself from my family. I was hardly ever home because being home made everything feel more intense for me. Being out with my friends gave me that escape to not think about my past failures. I let my L's weigh me down instead of pushing me to bounce back.

After working as a PCA for about 6 months, I knew I wanted a different job. That's when I applied to be a Mental Health Technician (MHT) for adolescents at a behavioral health facility. Now, this once sad and confused girl had goals again! I just didn't know how to go about reaching them yet. My goal in 2018 was to get into grad school for Public Health. I have the drive and the passion to educate and advocate for mental health, sexual health, and nutrition. I'm passionate about these topics because I myself have been affected by each of them. Not knowing how important these things were and being confused on how to go about asking for guidance. I want to put an end to the stigma and secrecy behind them all.

Thank God, I was blessed and got the job! Once I found out I had gotten it, I saw it as my second chance to put my foot on the gas pedal and not let up. I started the process of applying to grad school and actually met my goal of applying to all 5 schools on my list! Only thing is, I didn't get into any of them. I mean none. UNCG didn't even want me back. Still, everything happens for a reason right? I was doing great at my job, making a difference in the kids' lives as well as my own. But, I still felt there was something missing. Next thing you know, I was blessed with another job to work as an Administrative Assistant for a mental health office. Y'all, when I applied for this job, it said that you have to have at least a year of experience in this position. I didn't have ANY experience. I'm a firm believer in NEVER selling yourself short of ANYTHING. I mean ANYTHING! Even when something or someone says you have to be "more qualified". Yeah, you might not meet some qualifications exactly but you probably have some type of experience under your belt that will qualify you!

Now, in November of 2019, I'm working as an Admin. Assistant AND as a PRN being a Mental Health Tech. I am currently in the process of applying for a Public Health job in D.C., Charlotte, and Atlanta. I know that I am meant for great things in life and I will not stop working until I get there. I hope that you have enjoyed reading my story. This is NOT the end for me and it is NOT the end for you. Anything that you have been wanting to do. Do it.

"If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives." - Lemony Snicket

I send you all peace and blessings. It's funny... thought you had it all figured out, huh?

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2 Kommentare

24. Nov. 2019

I am so happy and I feel truly blessed that by me sharing my story I was able to encourage you. And yes! It is NEVER too late! You can do it 💛

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Thank you Briyana for sharing this personal glimpse into your journey. I am so glad you chose to pursue a career in helping others. Your empathy and caring shines through in your writing and your ability to draw others into your life through your real-world struggles is a true talent you should continue to perfect.

I am a "forever 39" year old mother of 3 adult children and after reading your article, I am encouraged to revisit some of my dreams, so thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more from you.

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