You are currently browsing jessykasimpson’s articles.

We all face challenges. Sometimes life really likes to put the pedal on the metal and give you multiple challenges at once. One of the biggest struggles I found with CUNY SPS is that the classes aren’t structured. By that I mean that at Berkeley College online you were able to know when you had deadlines and they typically didn’t coincide with each other. At CUNY SPS, you might have 4 projects all due at once and to make it even more challenging they might be group projects.

So just how do you manage that? It’s hard that’s for sure. A lot of us have our own careers, family life, children, parents that we care for or other challenges that we face. I won’t say that it’s easy because it’s not. For me alone, I’ve had to face a new challenge. My health. Just a few months back my entire life was upended. I was told I had lupus. Now three months in I was given another diagnosis for another autoimmune disease called sjogrens. So three months in I’m battling symptoms of chronic physical pain that can feel crippling and chronic extreme fatigue. So how do I manage working full time taking care of my daughter and school? The fact is I don’t. Sometimes I’ll lack at home cleaning up or somewhere I lack, because it’s impossible for me to do it all. I just do the best that I can because quite frankly that’s all I can do. I can’t do anymore.

While I get my physical being in order, trying to figure out which doctor is right, I’m living. I’m learning slowly to be nice to myself. If my body says go to bed even though I should be breaking night to study, I’m going to bed. At the end of the day, my dream was to graduate magna cum laude because I’m capable of magna work. But I’ve come to a point of forgiveness with myself. It’s the understanding that just because I don’t do perfect all the time, because I don’t reach every single goal, it’s okay. It won’t kill me to not be such an over achiever. What really matters is that I’ve given all that I can try to give.

Half of my friends don’t even know what’s going on with me physically but that’s okay. The thing is that autoimmune diseases are invisible diseases. On the outside you look great. On the inside you have a waging war. I don’t want sympathy or pity or people thinking I’m sick. I take the admission of being sick as though I have something wrong with me. I do, but I’m fighting. I don’t want pity or special treatment. I just want to be normal, but somewhere out there, I have no doubt there may be other students that feel the same. My words to you are, you are not alone. We are all united as students, with similar goals to either succeed, so better for our families, be the first college grads.

Jessica Simpson is a Senior at CUNY SPS enrolled in the Business Program. She works full time as an immigration paralegal in NYC. She has a strong passion for advocacy, children and psychology. In her spare time she reads psychology books and textbooks while studying personality disorders. Her motto is, “Adversity will either break you, change you or make you, I’ve opted in my life to take the latter road and because of that I’m made into what I am today.”

Advertisements

I’m currently reading Waiter Rant by Steve Dublianca and I can’t stress how excellent the book is. There is something so amazing when someone is just honest and forthcoming about their personal experiences. It’s like an invisible connection of emotions and thoughts that we can relate to. The writer explains his experience working in the restaurant industry.

For starters, I commend him. Working with the general public is difficult but the food industry is a beast all in its own. I tried my hand at working at a local Cuban restaurant when I was about 14 and made it through about a 1 day, 4 hour shift and I never went back. A few years later and one of the only times  I was able to not work and simply focus on school, I took a temp job at a Subway (at least it was temporary in my mind). That lasted just long enough to pay off my newly minted credit card. It wasn’t a hard job, but the clincher for me was when one day I was getting ready for school. I had taken a shower, gotten ready, and got to class. Of course, I always sat in the back and still do like the genuine handful that I am. The thing is that I caught a whiff of Subway. If you’ve ever eaten subway you know they have an incredibly distinguishable smell. It was only after a few minutes that I realized that smell of subway was me. I didn’t last, I cracked. I was still around 19 or 20 years old, super self-centered and self-conscious and couldn’t fathom going to school smelling like I’d been bathing in Subway. Needless to say I quit.

The writer of Waiter Rant talks a lot about humanity, the socioeconomic disparity and more importantly, the ruthlessness in our own humanity. One of the examples he talks about is a women who suffered a stroke in the restaurant. The woman is waiting for an ambulance when a couple walks in and proceeds to argue about the table they want, all while this woman is on the floor having a stroke. If you shook your head while reading that, take a second and think, are you that person on the train that has watched someone pass out and sucked your teeth or sighed out loud at the delay? Because I’ve watched this happen before. Right, because the person laying on the filthy subway car totally planned on botching your morning commute. I’m ruthless and cutthroat in a lot of ways, but on the other hand I am empathetic and understanding. So if I’m stuck under ground or plain stuck because your having a medical emergency, I think, oh well at least I’m still alive to see another day, the person who’s on the floor might not be that fortunate.

The book talks about a homeless guy who sometimes gets food from a restaurant. It reminds me of the homeless problem in New York and nationally. A few years back I was out with one of my best friends. The weather was brutal, I could feel the cold through my 1 Madison fox fur, goose coat. (Okay PETA advocates, have a seat. I didn’t know at the time it was authentic until I read the tag). The thing was that there was a woman with a thin coat asking for a coffee. Yes, a coffee. What upset me was everyone ignored her. She wasn’t asking for change, she wasn’t asking for money, she just wanted something to warm up. Now I pose this question, how can you say no? I’ve often asked homeless people if their hungry. I may not be rolling in the dough but how can you justify denying someone a meal. This past week this has been bouncing around in my peanut head. If I can afford a $300 Coach bag, how can I justify denying someone even a $5 meal? Can you? I know I can’t. Let’s put it this way, if you own an iPhone you know they retail for about $600 or upwards unless you have contract etc.. If you own an iPad, your walking around with now $1,000 in goods at minimum. So just think about that.

I’m not saying it’s up to one person or anyone to dive in financially and help the homeless or to jump in and save the life of a passed out passenger. What I am saying is we need to be a bit more conscientious of our attitudes towards each other. The truth is—even me included in this—it’s easy to be consumed by the work and school grind, however, no matter the pursuit, you should never lose sight of your humanity.

Here is my fave quote from the book:

“My Godfather, a Catholic Priest, once told me: ‘You may be the strongest and survive-only to win a life not fit for living.'”

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

Have you ever seen that 1990’s movie about a dentist that goes whackadoodle over his wife who’s having an affair with the pool boy? Well I know they don’t really do that but I have an extreme aversion to dentists. In fact, I would sooner let a tooth fall out of my head rather than indulge in going. I never even had my wisdom teeth knocked out of my head. They’re in my mouth living a delightful life. However, years ago I had a bad tooth that eventually cracked but the pain eventually stopped. So when I had an issue a few years back and I was forced to go to a dentist, it turns out they had to extract what was left. This was my first experience that wasn’t a routine cleaning or planing.

To say I would rather eat off the floor of a subway car than to go to the dentist is a pretty bad analogy considering how filthy those carts are. But I can justify that one since people in other countries eat off the floor and they’re okay. What did we do before plates and bowls (cavemen times)? The moral of this story is that I went. They numbed my gums which was painful in itself and then he proceeded to crack my tooth like a nutcracker as my head moved around like I was bopping to a happy beat. I was horrified and traumatized all at the same time.

Needless to say, I avoided the dentist for a few years after that once in a lifetime joyous experience. Recently, actually a week before Christmas, I received the most priceless gift ever! A toothache. Of course it was so bad I had no choice but to seek human intervention. Now, I like this dentist but I can’t stress how long I put this off for. My root canal was just finished a few weeks back, so I literally put off a visit since December. I didn’t show up like twice and I rescheduled like 4 times. God bless them for putting up with me, but I guess the girls know I have a strong aversion to the dentist. Unless I’m dropping dead on your floor, catch me if you can…

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I tend to think that I’m reasonable. There is nothing that you can’t explain to me that I won’t understand or try to understand. I heed advice because I’d rather avoid the pitfalls of life than go through something that someone can help me avoid. I think I’ve been through more than enough at this stage of my life.

The one thing that drives me insane is that I don’t listen to people who don’t have a leg to stand on. If your a hot mess trying to tell me what to do—your nuts, bonkers, mad—I don’t even want to hear your spiel. Get yourself together first then lets assess.

This isn’t limited to my own parents. It’s not that I’m still holding on to the resentment of the past for essentially raising myself as a teen. But I can’t understand where mostly my father gets off trying to tell me to save for my daughters college—something I’ve done since she was in the womb and he did not do—or anything else for that matter. Kids don’t come with a children for dummies manual. But some things I like to think you can figure out on your own.

My Achilles in life is my daughter. Where I may not have any feelings or emotions towards anything else in life, and my actions might be cold, she’s the one person I whole heartily would do anything for and this includes sacrificing my own peace and happiness to make her happy.

I have a 1,909,093,000 worries right now. So to get a call this morning from the man who helped create this whole that I’ve been struggling to get out of, after I’m helping him, to lecture me on my daughter, is insane. I’m outspoken so of course I said my peace, because my initial reaction was, “How dare you.” How dare you lecture me when I’m the one carrying the burden 15 years after you left me fending for myself. I suppose there is a thin line between reason and insanity… and my life remains in remnants of insanity.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I may have explained before or may have simply neglected to explain that I used to be a spark. Like the kind you see on July 4th kind of spark, pretty but kind of frightening sometimes. I’m not sure what conjured this story, but the other day as I was getting ready for work, and this pants story popped right into my little head.

You see, I’m the type of person that owns things. If I’ve offended you, said or done anything I’ll own it in its entirety. If I didn’t do or say something, again, I’m going to be the first one with her hand up saying I didn’t do this. Nothing seems to flip my switches faster than someone assuming and accusing me of doing or saying something when hands down, I’ll tell you to your face. Of course if I don’t remember I’ll tell you the same as well.

When I was about 19, I bought a pair of burgundy stretchy work pants from Rainbows in Lake Worth when I lived in Florida. As is the usual case of my life, with work, and school I was always running around. The pants had been in my car with the intention of bringing them back, because after I brought them home I hated them. (Not at all uncommon for me.) The thing of it is, that those pants traveled in my car up and down for about a week in their bag with the receipt and tags still on. On one of those days someone had broken into my car taken my radio but ransacked my cars contents including the pants, so by the time I went to return them, they were a bit wrinkled.

I walked into the store with bag, tags on and receipt. When I approached the counter, (I recall this like it was yesterday) the cashier told me I’d worn the pants. Now lets pause here. I have patience, but if you ask me or tell me something I of course will oblige and answer. I don’t handle stupidity well at all… so lets keep this in mind here.

I calmly explained I didn’t wear them, hence the tags were on. I just didn’t have time to bring them back any sooner than a week. She proceeds to call the manager. Now what happens next was seriously one of those black out moments where first your like you’ve got to be kidding me, but then anger makes its appearance like a headlining superstar.

The first thing she says when she calls the manager is this girl is returning pants and she wore them. If I could tell you I saw colors, stars and stripes I would. I remember the initial shock as my mouth literally dropped because I didn’t wear the stupid pants, and now this woman who I’d been going back and forth with for 20 minutes was telling someone I wore them as her opening statement. By the time she got off the phone I was in full on “Carrie the Rage” mode. I was screaming, and yelling because I didn’t wear the pants and she continued to accuse me of doing so. The end of the story is, I walked myself right outside and slammed the pants against a pole a few times before proceeding to toss them in the garbage. I still hate those pants today.

My point in telling this story is that I own my actions fully. I don’t believe in excuses. I feel like if you do something, man up and own it, good or bad. I hate it when people try and deflect blame. Do I blame anyone for the untimely demise of my pants? Not exactly. I own my part in beating them like a rug against a pole and them tossing them. Yup, that was all me right there. (I can imagine the faces of the shoppers in that plaza, while this is going on.)

It’s funny because I’m in a situation with someone now that is constantly throwing blame on everything and everyone around them and it drives me nuts. We can’t control our circumstances entirely or surroundings but we do have the power to control how we react and we can control the ownership of our participation in the things that we do. If one person upsets me, there is no reason everyone thereafter has to pay, because they are not the source of my imbalanced emotions at that moment.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I’m sure the title sounds frilly and full of smile’s and good stuff but no, you’ve been fooled. This is about the things that I have observed that drive me insane.

I’m friendly to a degree. You approach me or speak to me and I’m polite and social. Otherwise, you’ll likely meet my deadpan, emotionless or cold glare. It’s interesting because I wasn’t always this bad when it came to being social. When I first moved to New York I was still a social butterfly again to a certain degree. I’ve always been particular. In about 5 minutes maybe 10, I usually have people pegged. I’ve either classified you into one of 3 categories—we click, we will never click, and invisible. I have no in between. This is usually a result of my silence, however profiling. Everywhere I go I profile. It’s a habit, it’s innate and I can’t help it.

Being in New York again since childhood from 2008 to present, I still enjoy my space, which we have very little of. If a train is packed, I’m willing to be late to let 4 trains pass me then to plaster myself onto the window or subway surf on the outside. So this morning as I jump onto the elevator, I let one pass so as to not enter a packed one. (I have a morbid theory that if the elevator was stuck, I’d rather be alone than to be packed like a sardine. I think it’s an entirely valid reason, maybe not.)

The moral of the story is, I enter the elevator. Where do I stand? Can you guess? In the most invisible corner humanly possible. Want to guess what happens? Two more people enter and where do they stand in an entirely empty elevator, next to yours truly Suzy sunshine. I move my head and I know my face has taken the puzzled look as I think to myself, why?

Why do people feel the need to stand so relatively close to you when there is clear space, in front and in the middle of the elevator. It drives me insane. My little hamster wheel squeaks with the fury of why? I try to move myself away. I’m blatant about it, because again, why must you stand near me when there is such an obvious amount of space?!

My personal favorite is the packed meat locker called a subway. It’s one thing for the train to be full, it’s another when you think your getting in and your practically riding the platform. You clearly see that there is no space, so where do you seriously think you’re going? I’ve been known to ask people if they’d like to ride my shoulders? Perhaps a piggy back ride? Shouldn’t you at least know my name since you’re so in my space right now? Of course, depending on the mood, there are far less nice things I have said about this.

It’s really just the lack of courtesy that pulls my chain. I am evil to a lot of degrees, yup I admit it and very openly, but I also know how to treat people with dignity and respect. unless your on my dark side…may the force be with you. Blame it on being a double Capricorn, blame it on a self diagnosed personality disorder, whatever it is all I’m saying is it’s really not hard to treat each other just a little bit more courteously and not trample one another.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

To read books like this, I have to be in a certain mood. Just like any other genre, be it mystery, true crime, or forensic psychology related. I knew from the moment I was about 80 pages in, that this was going to require a certain state of mind from me to be able to finish it. So over the past month, in between reading thrillers, etc., I finally finished it.

The book was about a neurosurgeon that was diagnosed with cancer and his journey until his untimely demise. The book offers an interesting perspective into the journey of someone who’s life is cut short by such a serious illness such as cancer. There were a few quotes that stuck with me and a few thoughts that I’d like to share and understand your thoughts.

At the end of it all, what really matters? There came a point where he was diagnosed with cancer, would he return to neurosurgery—his passion? Where would he go? What would he do, and most importantly, what really mattered? I often think about my own demise, what have I accomplished, what have I not, what do I want, and what would I do but my own question of what really matters. Now that I am a mother, I have an Achilles—my daughter. Had I not been a mother the answer would be simple, what matters to me is money and my friends. Now I find that what matters to me is the ability to see my daughter grow and guide her through life. Money is still there, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a sordid affair with money. It is the root of all evil after all and everyone has a price, or at least I’m honest enough to own that I have one.

The book was a good read, again heavy in the content and the reflection and understanding that we all have a counter over our heads, just ticking the minutes and days away. But the takeaway is much larger in scale, because I reminded myself to take more time to myself, more time to slow down and enjoy my surroundings, more time to see and be one with nature and the things that I enjoy and love.

So at the end of the day…what really matters to you?

Here are the quotes:

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.”
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

“The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. It felt like someone had taken away my credit card and I was having to learn how to budget. You may decide you want to spend your time working as a neurosurgeon, but two months later, you may feel differently. Two months after that, you may want to learn to play the saxophone or devote yourself to the church. Death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I started reading a book called Kitty Genovese, based on the 1960’s murder of a young woman. What stands out is that in this case people heard the woman’s screams yet no one did anything. Neighbors either went to sleep, assumed someone else was calling for help and in turn no one did anything. The reason I wanted to talk about this is because according to the book in the 60’s ambulances did not have the capabilities to treat emergencies as they do today. The entire point is no one did anything when she was initially attacked. Her attacker returned and finished the brutality that he started when he found her lying in a hallway of a building.

Yet.. the other day, my significant other showed me a video of a young woman passed out and people working on her. I was disgusted. Why? Because I could not wrap my head around the fact that people were taping it like it was a reality show.

In that situation, medical attention was summoned, but then I was floored by the reaction. Since when did we become a voyeuristic society where everything is filmed even the most shameful, embarrassing, or life threatening situations. You called 911, awesome, you may have saved someone’s life, but why take it a step further and record and why do we watch?

In some cases, one could argue that filming certain events has saved lives. At the same time, would I want to see my mother, sister, or best friend virulently and unsuccessfully being resuscitated for the rest of my days to haunt me? As if losing someone isn’t hard enough! It’s every fight, every encounter that instead of stepping in, we opt to record. People watched the murder of Kitty Genovese. Some weren’t sure what they saw but the point is they watched.

The book is said to explain why people watched and yet, no one intervened. Is it our self preservation? Then again, why in the second scenario would people record such a thing?

All I know is that, I think we need to step up more and hold ourselves more accountable. Consider the consequences of a video that will never go away, consider who it affects, who will pay the price for its existence. Not everything that happens should be recorded to never cease to exist. We all know how the internet works. You post, he post, it gets shared and you can’t stop it. It snowballs from one small snowball to an uncontrollable one. So before we pick up our iPhones and iPads, how about we call 911 first and make sure the person’s okay if it’s safe to do so.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

Friday October 30, 2015 marked the 11th annual CUNY women’s leadership conference. The conference was comprised of various women leaders within our communities. There were two sessions held in the afternoon. One was for the New York City Government Panel which consisted of the following speakers: Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Inez Barron, and Council Member Margaret Chin.

The other was the New York State Government Panel where Senator Toby Stavisky and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Diana Richardson, and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright spoke.

In the morning we heard from Donna E. Shalala. Her words resonated with me because she didn’t come from an affluent family. Since she was a child she was demonstrating leadership capabilities. She gave the example of herself as a child directing traffic during a tornado that was approaching her neighborhood in Cleveland, her family is running to the basement and there she was on the corner of a street directing traffic. The most impacting words however, were how she told us that she still today hit walls. You never stop hitting them, you just have to find a way around it. She was both funny but more importantly honest. Sometimes I think it’s important for all of us to remember that our leaders face challenges just like we do. Even as leaders it doesn’t stop.

Donna E. Shalala

Following her words, Author Joanna Barsh spoke. Joanna Barsh is the author of “How Remarkable Women Lead” and “Centered Leadership.” Joanna actually gave us a hands on approach on applying some of the concepts from her book. It was interesting and more importantly engaging. She started out by having us move closer to those around us. I wound up meeting Jennifer who is both a journalist and a teacher. The first exercise was great because it made you break out of your comfort zone. The next exercises involved talking about emotions. We had to discuss how you felt about being there. I was incredibly excited but also nervous because of the large setting of people. By the time we were done, I felt much more relaxed.

Joanna also told us about a time that she froze during a meeting with a client. She explained it with high energy and made it incredibly relatable. What I learned from her example was how sometimes we spiral out of control with fear and it doesn’t let us make a move. In her example the meeting with the prospective client, she was asked why the prospective client would want to make a specific decision. Joanna explained that we all have a voice (or two) and sometimes that can drive us into a downward spiral. We begin to question ourselves, and everything. She wanted us to understand that this is also in a way related to our instinct to “fight or flight” responses.

We proceeded to the lunch portion of the seminar where Carolyn Maloney spoke. Representative Maloney is not only is strong advocate for the 9/11 Zadroga Act. That is the bill for first responders to receive compensation and treatment through the world trade monitoring center, but she is also fighting towards the continued funding of planned parenthood one of the largest women’s medical provider.

Studying American History now under the specific labels of race, class and gender, I understand one message clearly. We take for granted a lot of the rights that have been bestowed upon us because a lot of us can’t remember what it was like before the laws allowed certain things like voting, abortions, etc.. Women were dying in illegal operations in seedy hotels because they had no options. We don’t remember what it was like not to vote because our generation lives at a time where we have a choice.

By the end of lunch time, they had empowered me enough to actually sign up to vote. I was always one of those skeptics, “it doesn’t matter to vote, it’s all corrupt, my vote doesn’t count anyway.” By the end of lunch I had signed up to vote, and actually do as these empowering women suggested. Vote, especially because women today are not fighting for the new laws, we’re essentially fighting to hold on to the rights that we have already gained.

The last portion of the conference was equally as phenomenal as the other sections. Dianna C. Richardson was the one assembly person that stood out among everyone. Everyone was extraordinary because they all stood for one cause which is for the people. They are leaders not only because they lead but because of their advocacy of causes that concern the people. Dianna C. Richardson was both bold and honest. She gave literal meaning to walking the walk and talking the talk. The one unanimous component among a lot of the speakers was that no one necessarily planned to be in the position that they held. It just happened.

I asked at the end of the final session, what advice they would give to someone trying to transition from the private to public sector or vice versa. If not all, the majority of the panelists and keynote speakers were the first of their kind. First in a role, first in a field etc. So I wanted to understand how they handled that resistance and yet transitioned to other things. The response that closely answered that inquiry was the following. If you are trying to change your field, gear yourself, your resume towards what you’re trying to achieve. Making a decision such as public service is a choice that you make because it’s in you.

I’ll leave you with one of the quotes that stuck with me that day and today, and I hope that it stays with you. George Eliot is a pen name for Mary Ann Evans who used a male name to escape stereotypes about women authors and to be taken seriously. She says: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”

I have studied Freud and psychology since the age of 12. Instead of playing with dolls I found solace in reading. During the summers I read over 15 books a week. The one thing I have learned as a life lesson is reading people. Your intuition tends to be spot on. Whether it’s that person who gives you a bad vibe, or that street you always walk down that today you decide not to because of an ominous feeling. The reason I’m talking about this is because of everything going on with Lamar Odom.

I’ve never met the man as I’m sure neither have many of you. But the one fact that we can all agree on is that it’s a tragedy. It’s like when we watched Amy Winehouse drive herself to her early grave. So full of life, potential, and the bright prospective of a future. It’s the shock of “no, not that person.” It’s that feeling of wanting to understand why, to reach out and hug them and say it will be okay. Life is pain, some people tend to understand that more than others. Like there are strong, and there are weak. More importantly, when things happen in life there are usually two choices: break or continue. The problem is that for those who don’t break, it changes you. The pain chips away at the person you were.

This is the reason why everyday I struggle to figure out where I can serve best. Because EVERYONE needs someone to believe in, to know someone cares, to get a second chance, to be guided to the light from the dark. I think that because of Lamar’s upbringing and past pain, I relate on some level and it makes me think of my life. I know what it’s like to want to make that pain stop because the pain of your struggles in life are so unbearable. Whether you’ve thought of entertaining drug use, suicide, or other outlets, the point is that emotions can carry such a level of weight that some people give into these thoughts. I know that life can bring you to some very scary contemplation’s, whether subconsciously or consciously. The question is do we give into these thoughts and feelings that can be incredibly overpowering. Just like I said before, there are weak and there are strong. Neither is right or wrong in it’s own right. Everyone is entitled to their emotions, thoughts etc.. There is no one emotion that is not valid to the person undergoing the struggle. I just think that we need to have a bit more empathy, a bit more understanding and a little bit more love towards how we treat others.

That inspiring word today, might bring someone off a ledge tomorrow. That smile or genuine act of kindness can be the one thing that kept someone from re-lapsing or delving into some other devoid behavior. I didn’t get to where I am today alone. I had people that believed in my ability. I had people in my corner that hugged me and told me everything is okay. So today, think about how you can impact someone, think before you judge someone so harshly and remember that everyone has a story…maybe someone’s story is much like yours.

Jessica is a full time mother, employee, and student. She works as an Immigration Paralegal and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Jessica loves to volunteer with organizations that are targeted towards children. She recognizes that children are our future and sometimes they need someone who believes in them.

Jessica’s motto: Balancing everything is difficult but achievable.

One of Jessica’s greatest passions is writing. She says, “You have the ability to connect with reader’s in a way that speaking sometimes you simply can’t explain. I have been through a lot in my personal life and am very open about my struggles, but I live to be an example to not only my own daughter but to others.”