This entry was written by Tyesha Love, Masters candidate for a degree in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University:
As I recall my years as a single teenage parent trying to finish high school, I feared that I’d become another statistic – a high school dropout on welfare. I realized that I made my life harder by having children at such a young age. There were many days full of discouragement, low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I also remember my lack of faith.
I sought encouragement from family members and friends who continued to believe in me when others did not; when I did not. With the support of loved ones, I refused to give up on my dreams of being self-sufficient, educated, successful and a good mother. I worked hard to finish my senior year of high school, while caring for my son, 1½ at the time, and my daughter, two months shy from her first birthday. In May of 1997, with my two children looking on, I walked down the aisle of Robin Hood Dell East and received my diploma from Germantown High School.
I attempted to start college fresh out of high school. I do wish that I would have obtained some life experiences before entering college. I did not know how to apply the instructions of college to real life. Initially, the importance of obtaining a college degree was for self-fulfillment. I took the value of education for granted.
Now, as an adult I truly enjoy and have a better appreciation for higher education. It is essential that I demonstrate, to my children, the importance and benefits of higher education. But adult learning is not always easy, especially when you are juggling family, work and everyday life. In December of 2007, the time of my stage II breast cancer diagnosis, I was just finishing up credits for my associates degree. Who would have known that I’d go further in my educational career? I am a proud Masters student seeking a degree in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University — expectant graduation date – June 2012!
I refused to allow cancer to take schooling away from me. I wanted it! I went after it! Now, I’m achieving it! During treatments, lying in bed after surgery or waiting to be seen by doctors, I worked on writing and reading assignments for my associates degree. On days I did not work on assignments, I worked on my journal, I Am Not My Hair, A Young Woman’s Journey and Triumph Over Breast Cancer. My school work and journal were the catalysts for escaping cancer. They were therapeutic. I’d drown myself in my work, and for a moment, forget about my plight.
I realize that just as important as it is to further my education — it is just as important to stay grounded. I’m an adult student in the MA program. I stay grounded by doing the simple things in life that I enjoy — making quality family time with my children and setting aside alone time for prayer. I take relaxing bubble baths, enjoy a movie from time to time, and indulge in a glass of wine or cook. One thing that I must do in the 2011 school year is make more time for physical and mental rest. I need to be more disciplined regarding my time management.
Upon receiving my MA degree, I have considered starting an organization that would support cancer survivors, their loved ones and caregivers. I have also considered starting an organization designed to develop young adults who are faced with the challenges of becoming or being a teen parent – like I myself was. The mission of this organization will ensure them that they can triumph over the obstacles that they are more-than-likely to encounter.
Starting organizations like this is a foundation of my short-term goal as a student and my long-term objective as a person. My passion is to proficiently and effectively empower, motivate and develop others, while continuing to grow intellectually, wisely, spiritually and socially.
Has your breast cancer diagnosis encouraged you to go after a challenge? Tell us about it! Comment here or on our Facebook page.