Hello guys, part of our Women of Today mission is to share our stories and learnings from our community. Today, we wanted to share with you a letter from WOT reader Yvette. She sent this to us with kindness and love, just by checking out the website! We all have different stories and sharing them is part of what can inspire us! Take a read!
I spent a significant amount of time going through your website today and I enjoyed reading about the healthy and flavorful recipes (which I’m definitely going to try a few), the stories on self-care and wellness. I was touched by the courage of sharing your very personal childhood memories of pain, fear and frustration with highlights of strength, perseverance and determination on overcoming to meet your ambitious goals. So, thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. “The women of today” need to share more of these stories with each other, as a way to support and help each other rise to become our best. Women need each other, and your website is a wonderful vehicle to convey this message as we navigate careers, families, responsibilities and simply want to do it all. Wow.
On a personal level, my life journey of, challenges, pain and insecurities came at an early age, and it started when I had to repeat the 3rd grade. My reading and writing failed me. Having immigrant parents, I spoke more German at home than English and struggled with the English language.
After the pain of falling back and watching your friends move on to the next grade, I was labeled as stupid, lost childhood friends and become bullied. I developed deep insecurities over my intelligence and felt like an outcast throughout grade school. So, too overcome, I shifted my energy to sports and the arts. I learned to excel in whatever sport I took up: gymnastics, track, volleyball, softball; a shortlist of female sports that were offered when I was in school, and drawing was my coping mechanism after school. In high school, I worked on passing grades to graduate and maintain a grade-point average that may help me get into some colleges.
I dreamed about getting into a good college but my grades were average and my immigrant parents didn’t have the money nor did they believe I was college material. I grew up in a one-income household, my mother was a stay at home Mom with many health issues and escalating medical bills and my father was working long hours repairing medical instruments to feed three children and keep a roof over our heads.
So, I went to a community college in my hometown, affordable and an opportunity to prove I was college material. I did well, but wanted to have a greater undergraduate experience at one of those big universities in a beautiful state, like my friends with 4.0 averages.
Eventually, a little older than the typical undergraduate, my father agreed to help pay for me attending the University of Colorado in Boulder. I got good grades but my father’s financial situation and my financial aid wasn’t enough money to pay for the out of state tuition. I insisted on finishing so I took several after-hour jobs to keep my finances in order so I could finish. I cleaned houses, bussed tables and babysat and went to school. I was simply exhausted at nights and weekends but I feared if I went back home, I would fulfill the prophecy that I wasn’t college material, I failed.
The money I made wasn’t enough, After 1 1/2 years, I had to go home to Chicago. Fast forward, I moved back home, worked odd jobs before I figured out which school would accept me and apply for financial aid to partially support me. I finished my undergraduate and went on to complete a Master of Science Degree at a school in Indiana while I worked three jobs to pay for some of my expenses.
I also earned a Graduate Assistantship in my last year of graduate school which helped pay for my tuition. And, I published my thesis. Where am I now, I have a professional career in HR, make a six-figure salary and a glass artist who runs a small art business on the side. I’m happily married to a loving man who believes in everything I do and never doubts my intelligence, and nor do I.
Woman to Woman,
Challenges, fear, failure are lessons to navigate us toward success.