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Growing up is not a straight road

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

Meet Stephanie from The Bronx, New York

Hello world,

Growing up, I was very strong academically. I always got good grades, I always understood the material, I never needed to ask questions. I went to Hyde Leadership Charter School. This is where I learned to be a leader as well as a person dedicated to her community. I also took part in an internship called ACTION (Activist Coming to Inform Our Community) at the Point CDC. I was a community and an environmental activist bringing awareness to food injustices and steps the community had to take. In school, I was considered the smart, quiet girl, the math whiz, etc.

People saw me that way and so I was that person, I didn’t allow myself to be any different than what people saw me. In a sense, I had two lives in high school. I was very quiet in the classroom, but I did a lot of public speaking and conferences outside. With that being said, I wish I had more support socially. Although I had an image in school, that didn’t mean that was who I am.

Once I graduated high school and came to college I started to branch out and got to know myself better. In this process, I learned that I’m not as quiet as people peg me to be, I am a proud, confident and amazing person. Yes, I am smart but learning happens every day. I came to know people who were different from me -- different in every way. I learned who they are to me and who I am to them. I am still a community activist. In college, I took part in NYPIRG (New York public interest Research Group) where I was the leader of the MTA straphangers’ campaign. I brought awareness to how students are affected by metro-card prices even sacrificing food for a monthly metro-card. It’s amazing how a change in environment and mindset can really impact your world.

I wish I had more social support because maybe I would’ve found myself sooner and impacted

more lives. This is a message I want to share with the world. Finding yourself is a beautiful thing. It's a journey you take, a journey that happens at your own pace. Five minutes each day, reflecting on who you are is really life changing. When discovering myself, I found I am a strong, beautiful and independent woman. I know where my limits are and I know how to confidently yet kindly express those limits to others.

To the person reading this, you are an amazing person who is going to shine a bright light in this world. You are going to take people's breath away. You are going to leave people in awe. Growing up is not a straight road. I wish I knew that sooner. If I did continue believing who everyone else thought I was everything would just be OK. But now that I have changed and transformed, things are not just OK. Things are amazing and great. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t allow other people's opinions or views define your character.

Your friend,


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