Hi, my name is Daiquiri H. I am a divorced recovering alcoholic mother of an amazing young man. Because of my ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences), choices, and decisions I made throughout my life, I went from acting irresponsible for my past actions to being accountable today. Turning my past pains into my present passion and future purpose was key. After a decade of working on my recovery, learning about myself, gaining sobriety and spiritual stability, I became honest, open-minded, willing, and teachable. Gathering a collection of life experiences gave me a foundation for learning how to use resources and networks, and how to ask for help. These circumstances led me to Norwescap’s Career & Life Transitions Center.
I took a leap of faith asking for help to get sober, another leap of faith was to trust someone. Trust does not come easy for me because of childhood trauma and experiences. Having faith in adults who took advantage, neglected, and hurt me in many ways – whether my intuition was real or fancy – were contributing factors to not trusting; so, this made it not easy to jump into faith. However, I am so glad I did jump. You see, I registered for everything Norwescap’s Career & Life Transitions Center (CLTC) program offered, attending many workshops, programs, training, and networking events more than once: the empowerment courses, life coaching, computer courses, resume writing, presentation course, dressing for success, and self-care tools & tips.
Once again, I was giving a lifeline to success – how I began to define success. I was blessed with the opportunity to intern, and later volunteer, with the Career & Life Transitions Center, which additionally increased my confidence and marketability. My Norwescap Engagement Partner told me that Norwescap offered educational grants and said I should think about finishing my bachelor’s degree, which I started nearly 36 years ago. She suggested I talk with a counselor at the Community College to see what I need to do to go back to school. That adviser, after looking at both my transcripts from Essex County College and William Paterson University, suggested I go talk to Rutgers School of Social work.
I applied to Rutgers, and I was not accepted. I was devastated. As I sat in my car crying, I felt lost, broken, and once again like a failure, just as I did when I was hurt as a little girl. But, I picked up the phone and called my mentors to ask for support and guidance. Arriving home, in my mailbox was a postcard for Kean University’s open house three days later. I registered to go, thinking “Hey, what could I lose?” I arrived on campus, and fear set in again, telling me “What am I doing here, I don’t belong here, I am too old,” and “you can’t keep up nor compete with these young students.” But another part of me started talking to God, about my gratitude, where I came from, where I was, and where I may be going if I just let go!
Sitting in the gymnasium, it was packed with first-generation students, transfer students, friends, family, current students and alumni, department heads and deans, social groups. I became overwhelmed with gratitude like nirvana. I was grateful for my childhood experiences, yes; including my trauma. I could finally feel and see the doors to my emotional and spiritual freedom and no more self-sabotaging thoughts. I could see a path that led not to destiny, but to an experience and educational journey for my purpose to be here. Tears rolling down my face, not caring who could see my emotions, it was just me and God. I told God, If I got accepted, I would not let him down, misuse, or take advantage of the assistance given to me, nor will I disappoint my son, my ex-husband, and those who believe in me more than I believe in myself. And it happened. I got accepted.
I had no idea where the money would come from outside the assistance from Norwescap’s educational grant. But because I maintained an A grade average every semester, I was awarded additional funding from Kean as well as outside scholarships. And so I made my way forward.
Today I am a graduate of Kean University, with my Bachelors of Art, and an active member of Psi Chi, Tau Sigma, Lambda Alpha Sigma, and Epsilon Epsilon Omega – because I invested in me, and began the journey of my life’s work. I’m also a recipient of additional numerous awards. My vision, goals, plans, and purpose is a constant continuum. My Vision boards, which I learned in Empowerment workshops at CLTC, are now my living visions.
What’s next, where do I go from here? I will earnestly practice mindfulness, live for the joy in the journey, continue to define and fulfill my purpose – because it doesn’t have one face, it is multifaceted. Nothing I do today is counter-productive, everything I do is anti-complacent. Everything I do has a value, and I will help others find their purpose, worth, and value. Today, I am doing the right things, and it is a reminder for me: Do not let people design nor define my worth. I am a scholar, a researcher, and a walking resource. I am fully taking advantage of opportunities that will help me grow and utilize my skills, education, and experience to help others; and more importantly, to empower myself to succeed.
I chose to do the footwork and God guides me. I put faith in others who believed in my capabilities, more than I believed in them myself. And here I am. Thankful to GOD, my friends, and family, my mentors, Norwescap, CLTC; everyone who played major roles in the woman I am today.