TRIO Student of the Month: Jaclyn Radford

Jaclyn is a fourth-year St. Clair County Community College student who recently graduated from Blue Water Middle College Academy (BWMCA).

In May of 2018 she will be graduating from SC4 with two Engineering degrees (Mechatronics and Electronics) and will hopefully continue her education at the University of Michigan, where she would pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. After graduating with a Ph.D, she wants to work for NASA and possibly spend some time on the international Space Station.

She currently is a Student Ambassador and has worked many new student orientations and given countless tours. While at SC4, she has been a part of a couple plays and she plans to audition for the upcoming ones too.

She has this saying “If I am to be married to my work, then acting shall be my mistress.” Acting is her passion but engineering is her dream. While being a Student Ambassador she has been able to encourage many students to always follow their dreams, however, she warns them of how easy it is to lose sight of their passions and of who they are in the crazy mess that is the world we live in. She delivers this warning in the form of an anecdote; “When I first started college I was 16 years old, and I had it all figured out. I had the weight of the world slowly crushing me and I was convinced it would only make me stronger.” At the time she had no foresight and had no idea that she would hit rock bottom before she would gain any strength.

Around this time, she was diagnosed with several mental disorders including manic depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety and Asperger’s syndrome. Jaclyn always wanted to be neurotypical or at least somewhat “normal”. Even though she was in denial it did make sense that she didn’t want to be on this Earth anymore because she was depressed, unfortunately, Jaclyn wouldn’t admit that because she wanted so desperately to be OK. Over the course of the next year (her second year in college) she fell so far and truly hit rock bottom. The good thing about hitting the bedrock of your life is that the only way you can go is up.

There is a Japanese Proverb that says “Nana korobi ya oki” which means that if you fall down seven times make sure you pick yourself up eight times. Whatever you do, do not sell yourself short because you are the one who will always have your back, you are the only one who can seek out the help you need. Find a support system. Yes it is great to be your own support, but how can you hold yourself up when you can’t hold yourself together? Jaclyn has found many supporting people including the TRIO staff. She may have hit rock bottom, but she is crawling her way out.

Since her fall from glory she has managed to get her grades back up and was elected to be the VP of Leadership in Phi Theta Kappa. She still struggles but she is determined to leave a positive impression on anyone she can.

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