Alumni Selfie Story: Marisa S.

Woman Taking Selfie in Mirror

Hi, I’m Marisa! It has been a little over five years since I’ve graduated from Skyland Trail. In that time, I’ve gained work experience, graduated with my Associate of Applied Science degree with high honors, finished my Bachelor of Arts with honors, and in just over a week, I’ll begin my law degree.

I wouldn’t have been able to do this without taking that much needed time to work on my mental health. I even wrote my personal statement for law school applications about my journey with bipolar disorder and how it impacted my academics over the years. It was a big risk, but I do believe the more we suppress the discussion on mental health issues, the more we stand to worsen the stigma. If I had written a statement about my academic history and neglected to mention my mental health struggles, the whole piece would have been inauthentic and not truly representative of my experiences.

My milestones aren’t something that I can pinpoint in time. Certainly, I can say each degree or honor society is a milestone, but they aren’t the things I’m most proud of accomplishing. My personal milestones are more like looking back and realizing, “Wow, I managed my depressive episodes really well this past year and asked for help when I needed it,” or “I felt really good about myself this past semester.” It’s never one big thing, it’s the culmination of many little things over time.

Now, I’m happy to say, most days I don’t feel like I’m struggling. I’ve been able to balance life’s many components with a far greater ease than what I thought was capable just a few years ago. Especially at this time in my journey, at the precipice of law school—which I have worked towards for so long—I am excited to say I feel strong. I look forward to what may come, and am grateful for the work I have put in along the way.

This client testimonial was submitted through our Alumni Selfie Story program, where we ask alumni share their personal experience with others, give updates on their recovery, or give a shout-out to someone that’s helped them in their recovery.