Table of contents
- Journey of A Lifetime
- Peer Pressure
- Teen Mom
- Just the Beginning
- New Beginning
This paper tells a story of my life as a teenager and how I become the woman that I am now. During my high school years, I didn’t take education or study seriously. Morning and nights were filled with blessings from my parent’s prayer upon me each and every day. Still, too much peer pressure and the eagerness to fit into society. All I was thinking about is to graduate and moving on with life. Unfortunately, the biggest downfall that change everything and shape me to be a better person than before. I was able to pick myself up, continue my journey and create a new path for the sake of my little one. Finally, I observe and experience the luxury of life that one can learn from yesterday’s example. It was the time that I tell myself, this life is not about you anymore. There are responsibilities that need to be fulfilled and someone is looking up to you (me) for guidance in this life. I knew right there and then; that things are about to change and I have to take life seriously. I never thought that I am capable of reaching goals to the point I question myself, how did I ever get here or how did all of these happen. I am blessed to have my two blessings.
Journey of A Lifetime
Each of us has our own story to tell and it is up to us how we end it. Choices and desires were played, when I thought this is it or it is what it is. In reality, there was so much more than what is expected from what I did. I was totally not a school person or someone that could make a change in my family. There were different challenges that I had been facing since my high school years, college life, and this current time. The most and biggest that hit me and change me into who I am now is being a teen mom. Although I fail and fall for the first time, I was strong enough to create a new path and proud to become the woman that I am now.
As a teen at the time, the school was not my thing or my priority. Friends and trying to fit into society were big topics to seek. During that time the more friends you have the more popular you are. I was a miss in our sophomore class and should be a role model to my fellow classmates. I got to say, that didn’t go well. There were temptations and peer pressure of becoming the main topic of the everyday stories. I observed and noticed that not only friends, yet family status as well is one of the main reasons for some to get friends. I still remember when I tried to fit into a group of friends who I thought will make me look cool. Tempt to do things that are not appropriate, but I still have to do it just so I can be with them.
In addition, I knew my behaviors are not proper and my parents wouldn’t be proud and happy for what I did. According to (Pfeifer, Masten, Moore, Oswald, Mazziotta, Lacoboni, & Dapretto, 2011), “Parental and societal concerns, therefore, abound regarding adolescent abilities to resist peer pressure, and whether a teenager's lack thereof will precipitate his or her engagement in risky behaviors (such as early substance abuse, delinquency, or unsafe sexual activity)”. I have been exposed to activities that are not appropriate for my age, due to the fact of wanting to join their group of friends. Take, for instance, drinking alcohol and hanging out late with friends. There was this one night that we went to my friend’s house when we won our school Halloween competition. I sat there and they were all drinking while I was hoping to get home early. One of my friend’s sisters told me why I don’t drink or join them, I told her because I don’t drink. Later on, that night, my friend stood up and told me if you are not drinking this bottle you will never be my friend. I didn’t know what to do because I was afraid to be alone or lose them. So that when I start drinking alcohol and make some poor choices that I regret later on.
I was holding the title and my performance didn’t fit the position, because I did what my friends told me and went with them. There were times that I skipped class and a week or two did not come to school. Grades are not One of my instructors, my English instructor told me that she sees more in me than what I can do. I believe her but I was brainwashed with all the short happiness of life I was in. There was this one day that we had coral reading citations in class. This was my English period, and I did not have any interest at all in reading the script. By the time we discuss and share our thoughts about the script, my teacher challenges me and ask what was the script about. Everyone thought and knew that I will not able to reply to what had been asked. I took the time to scheme through the script and reply to her. She sat there for a moment and said, I knew you know the answer to the question. After that day, she talked to me and said I know I don’t have any rights to your life but you can open doors with the capability in you. I know there are a lot of opportunities waiting for you, but to do so education is your main source and key to any of the doors. That whole time I have been thinking about what she said and motivating myself to try each day to be better than yesterday.
I saw most of my classmates were working hard and dedicated their hard work to their parents. What motivates me was seeing my dad in pain and trying to go to work, just so I can have my needs and wants. This really hit me and finally come to the sense, that I am the oldest and I have to be my parents’ right hand rather than a burden to them. I set goals and committed to my studies and things around me. I started to make my parents proud and think of what I missed out on and all that can be corrected.
As the year goes by, I knew that I should be this person for a long time. I challenge myself to do what is right and follow my heart, then try to please everyone. Coming to school and looking at books was a big no to me. According to Kinzel (2016), “As of late, students are carrying negative attitudes about education. Books aren’t being read, homework isn’t being done and attendance is growing thin”. I know and I can relate to this because education was not that important to me at the time. Going to school was fun because of friends and nothing else. This mentality took over me and I was blocked from opportunities and right choices during this period of time.
When I found out that I’m expecting, I was scared to death. My main reason to be scared is my parents. They expected more from me, they were depending on me. They never thought that I will never let them down. There were also some things that I look at, like people from the village and from the church. My family and everyone that loves me will be heartbroken because of me. Despite the fact of what people said and think I was able to talk to my mom.
The first time that I told my mom about my situation, my mom wasn’t my mom at all after what she heard from me. She didn’t even want me anymore, she said she doesn’t know me. From the time that I needed her the most, my dad was there for me physically. I cried day and night because my family wasn’t complete throughout the time. I was so emotionally and sensitive all the time. According to Nierenberg (2017),' Some women are sensitive to changes in estrogen, while others are affected by rising levels of progesterone or stress hormones”. I remember when I heard about my puppy getting hit by a car, and I was crying like a river flood that day. I was so emotional that everything I heard I cried without a reason. Even though I know my mom will talk to me again, we’re also staying under the same roof. Still, I cried and felt left out and abandoned. My mom didn’t even want to look or talk to me. When its dinner time, she didn’t want to come out and join us for dinner. She only came when she knows, I’m away or not at the dining table. That is when I think of running away from home or leaving the island. Luckily, not once did I ever think to abort my child or try to do something stupid. It was just a matter of fact, that I know what I did and I am not proud of it I only want my relationship with my mother to be the same as usual. I know that it was not the right time to have a baby, but my child was never a mistake.
When I was four months, my mom decided to talk to me and care for me. She saw that I have to go through this each day and it broke her heart to see me like this. One night I thought she was asleep, but without knowing she was up all night looking at me sleeping. I asked her mom why are you still up, she sat there with tears running down her cheeks. She said I can’t help the fact that you are going through at this age. I never thought that you will end up like this. She continues to cry and cried as well because I can’t do anything but accept the fact that I am pregnant.
My dad was the only provider and source to our family and he didn’t hesitate of caring for me and my unborn child. He never raises his voice over me, he cried most of the time which kills me deep inside of what I have done to them. I thought to myself, probably I will give up my baby for adoption. I was thinking I gave my parents so much burden on their shoulders, so I would never add any more burdens to them. When my mom heard about the news, she was so mad that she almost hit me. Even though she was not happy about what I did, she was happy to welcome his first grandchild. When it is my time, she was there for me the whole time. Right when she saw my son, everything changes from that time on.
Sometimes I don’t think when I have to decide what to do or what I must do. According to (Pieterse, Vries, Kunneman, Stiggelbout, & Stewart, 2013), “To support patients in making choices, patient decision aids and values clarification methods (VCM) in particular have been developed”. When I know we have a get-together with friends, I chose that over completing my assignments. I prioritize what makes me happy rather to seek what is good for me. Making the right choice was not necessary, all I was thinking was only me no one else. There are times that I wanted to forget about anything and do what I feel at that particular time. I was debating either if I take the job or just walk away. That time I was nervous and scared because I don’t have any experience being in the field.
Most of the time my choices were based on my mood. When I am mad at something I quickly jump to conclusions. There were certain times that I made a mistake that I totally regret later on. Sometimes I take my anger over my siblings and felt like I am the bad one in the family. Mood swings were one of my major problems when I was expecting. Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes very grumpy, emotional, and sad without a reason.
The first step in ASCC was life-threatening because I have now entered reality and it is time of choosing wisely. Raising a child and focusing on the school was hard at times. There were times that I have to sacrifice one to do the other. It was about time that I took everything seriously and committed to what I do. Never in my life that I would take education as a priority and a major impact on my life.
Going to class and thinking of my son’s future was something that bothers me every time. Coming home to see his face is like an antidote to releasing stress and depression. I still remember the day that I failed my math test. I hate math because typically not a math person or good at anything that deals with numbers. I came home, I cried that I can barely talk because I failed the math test. My mom is always a shoulder to lean on when it comes to bad days. She hugged me and said, this is only the beginning. I know you can do better next time and always pray when your heart is troubled. Tears were slowly fading away and when I looked at my son, I knew he deserve better. Seeing him every day is a challenge for me to give him the life he deserves. Trying to pass all courses and maintain a good GPA was all worth it in the end.
There were a lot of things that I have to think about and choose which to do first and then the other. According to (Mangeli, Rayyani, Cheraghi, & Tirgari, 2017), “According to the results of studies, Teen mothers face many physical, psychological, social and spiritual challenges”. One of the examples was my eating habit, which leads to being overweight. Whenever I am stressed from school or at home it is like my usual routine to eat. Stress causes body change and it will continue to be a thing if I can’t control it. Dealing with my mental health will cause memory loss and negative thoughts will always appear when I am stressed. Sometimes, I tend to forget things that just happened recently or current events. Afterward, isolating from people and those who are loved and dear to me. Stress will manipulate all the good things that had happened, and not think straight. There are times that I hear my mom saying if your heart is troubled always pray. When stress strikes, I don’t ever think of that or may pray at all. I felt like I want nothing or want to do anything and my mind is all over the place. I still remember when I didn’t attend or participate in anything in our church, because I wasn’t me at that time. There are times when I don’t know what to do or what I should do.
Stress was not only the problem that I’ve been facing but depression as well. According to (Lanzi, Bert, & Jacobs, 2011), “A lack of social support and elevated rates of stress increase the risk of depression among new mothers and likely contribute to negative parenting practices such as neglect”. There were times that I go through depression when there is a lack of support and loads of assignments. Well yes, my family is there to support me every time, but there will be that time that they need a break from everything. When it is too much for me, I don’t even bother to have time for my son. Alone in my room was the only answer and drown with thoughts that I have to control. Through it all, I’m glad that I survived and made it this far.
When my son got sick, I immediately took him to the hospital and did not attend class. By the time we got there, the doctor asked; why I didn’t act early when my son have these symptoms of flu. I told him I try to manage time because I am a student taking classes. What he told me still exists and it stuck on my mind, your kids are your first priority. Every now and then my kids are always my first priority in life. Not only words of encouragement from my mom, but also from my son’s pediatrician.
Finally graduating from ASCC in Spring 2015, the best moment of my life is to achieve this milestone that I never thought could be possible at all. According to (Cherry, Chumbler, Bute, & Huff, 2015),
Both pregnant and parenting adolescents aspired to provide a “better life” for their children that including finishing school and obtaining a career. An emergent theme is that the experience of pregnancy and parenting is transformative and may invoke a positive refocusing of life aspirations for educational and career attainment.
After this first milestone, I was thinking and not stable about what to do next. All I was thinking is finally I got my degree and that was it. I didn’t think of going to continue my education or finding a job. I was overwhelmed by staying home and watching my son, but I know I have to find a job to support him. Throughout that year I went to look for a job, I never thought that I would become a teacher. Finally got a call to be a teacher, I was so happy that it didn’t take me that long to wait for an answer.
Just the Beginning
I didn’t think of anything else but my son’s future and how he will live. I join the profession and that was the only thing that was on my mind. I came to work and go back home was the mentality. Then, I was told that I have to classes for my Bachelor's. I didn’t want to take any classes; I was so done with school. Not until some teachers said that if I don’t take classes I will be terminated. That word terminate was like a repeated song that kept on playing in my ears. I didn’t have any choice but to take classes as they said. Being a teacher during the day and a student at night time, was something that I thought I wouldn’t able to make it this far. There were loads of responsibilities that I have to do daily and it all dealt with time.
The moment that I have to complete the criteria from work school was very complicated. When we have a visitation schedule, I don’t have time for myself and complete assignments. The most important fact is building a strong relationship with students. I believe when there is no connection between students and teachers, chaos will take over and continually uncontrollable behavior. According to (Kaufman & Sandilos, n.d), “Improving students’ relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students’ academic and social development”. After a few months in the program and I have seen that my students are starting to trust me as their caregiver in an educational way and as a teacher daily. There was this one time that I didn’t know what to do anymore. I tried to complete work and school assignments, but I couldn’t do it with all the chaos happening in the classroom.
Chaos in the way that I don’t know my students learning ability, weaknesses, and strengths and how to implement classroom management. By the time I learn how to deal with my students, less stress and more positive thinking started to plant. I was aware of what I should do and managing time was one. I was able to do two things at a time during work hours. I felt peace when I know my students one by one physically and emotionally, students were able to interact and were comfortable around me.
Now that I am about to reach the other milestone of my journey, which I never thought could possibly happen. People were saying that I am not worthy of the position. They were recognizing only my mistakes and what I did in the past. Sometimes I almost fall because I let their opinions get through to me. I want to be a better individual and to prove everyone wrong. I didn’t let them get to me but I continue to do what I know is best for me and my family. Self-confidence was my only way to survive and get to where I am now. Believing myself and knowing that I can do better than before elevate my personal and professional growth.
In conclusion, I am thankful that I was able to be in the University of Hawaii at Manoa teachers’ program. Professional growth and cognitive development were something that I learned from taking courses in the program. It was a journey of experiences and gaining knowledge on dealing with young children. Strategies and ways for students to learn are well implemented in the classroom. Soon the second phase of achievement will soon be complete, and I am happy and proud of the woman that I become. Even though my life wasn’t on the right path at first but I was strong enough to get back up and walk the path to success.