Going Back To School As An Adult

Growing up, I struggled in school. I had issues paying attention because my mind was always distracted by other things. The distractions made me feel as if school wasn’t for me. In 2006, I didn’t get the chance to walk across the stage in my Senior year of high school. I did receive my diploma, however, during that summer after completing one last assignment the school had required.

I went on to start at a four-year university in Southern California – California State Univerity Northridge (CSUN), where, yet again, I wasn’t focused and my mind was distracted. Initially, my grades were good but they suffered during my sophomore year. I was penalized by the school for having a low GPA, therefore deciding to drop out. I dabbled in community college throughout the years, but never really accomplished much.

By the age of 25, I was soon-to-be-married and had experienced great opportunities as a title holder for the Miss California Latina Organization. I was Miss Los Angeles California Latina 2013, which was a title that allowed me to become known throughout communities in Hollywood and Los Angeles.

I loved the organization because it showed me a new set of values for women beyond being a sex symbol. The organization represented women who were beautiful, cultural, and educated. For the first time in a long time, I was around a group of women who were educated and it was inspiring. But I still wasn’t so sure if the education path was for me.

Expressing my uncertainties with my fiance (at the time), he explained that if I really wanted to succeed I would need an education. He encouraged and pushed me to return telling me that it was something that I could do if I put my mind to it.

Despite my reservations, I enrolled at LAVC (Los Angeles Valley College) to try and earn credits I needed to transfer back to CSUN. I was terrified upon my return. I was older than most students and I felt out of place being unaware of the terrain. The school work didn’t make the experience any easier. Not being in a classroom for quite some time made learning difficult. I eventually fell behind.

When my partner found out he was so disappointed. He said I couldn’t let myself slip. That I was smart enough and giving up wasn’t an option. He advised me to check into my professors’ office hours and tutoring labs. So I did and I began putting in as much extra effort as I could. My grades started to pick up and I gained more confidence in completing my school work.

Soon, I had completed my credits and it was time for me to transfer back to CSUN; which brought back a new set of fears, despite my recent scholastic accomplishments. I was so nervous returning back to the university. But after a couple of weeks into my first semester, the fear started to ease up. I realized that I knew what I could do as a student from my experience at LAVC, and I started to thrive. I received mostly A’s in all of my classes and whenever classes got tough, I went the extra mile to study, audio record classes, and seek help.

In 2017, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. It took about 10 years, but I did it! It was the most gratifying feeling I’ve ever experienced. I met the most insightful professors and learned things that I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere. I really did accomplish something that I never thought I could have, even through my split and divorce with my now ex-husband.

Most importantly, going back to school as an adult taught me how to be a lifelong learner. A skill that helps me grow in all aspects today. If you’re considering returning back to school after time off (doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away), I’d encourage you to go for it. If you take it seriously, you’ll discover so much growth in yourself. There are also many resources schools have access to to help you grow professionally. I promise you’ll be so proud to fill in your education part of your resume. I know I am!


My Battle with Anxiety

I’ve battled with anxiety since the age of 14. I remember being in Freshman year of high-school and having my first teenage relationship. He was 16, a poet, and sort of a bad-ass. I was in “puppy-love” and it was great when it was good, but it was awful when it was bad.

During the bad times, I found myself very sad, always crying, and extremely worried all the time. It was extremely hard to focus on daily activities, and there came a point where my body couldn’t handle all the emotions so I would just start throwing up. It was so bad. I would throw up in the middle of class, literally running to the garbage can spewing in front of all my peers. It would happen in the lunchrooms, at home, anywhere! My body couldn’t help whatever I was feeling at the time and that’s how it responded. I would pray to God in the mornings and ask Him to “please help me not throw up today.” Eventually, with therapy and growing a stronger mind, the throwing up stopped around the time I turned 16.

I experienced really bad anxiety again around the time I was 19 – 21 years old in another relationship. I was with someone who I loved dearly and couldn’t handle the heartbreak I felt at times throughout my relationship. My mind would be in worry overload and it would think the worst of situations and it literally drove me crazy at times – having panic attacks daily. I also became very impulsive and did things that were considered weird to him and his family (so embarrassing when I think of it now). But I know now that my actions were the consequences of fear-ridden, anxious thoughts that weren’t being addressed. Things got better for me as I started gaining new independence on my own in Los Angeles. Time heals many wounds and eventually, I moved on to focusing on having fun and living life to the fullest to the best of my abilities.

How I deal with anxiety

My anxiety comes and goes over time. Before, my anxiety stemmed from relationships and not feeling loved. However, today most of my anxiety stems from exploring new careers and uncertainty about my future. I’ve always done therapy to help out during the hard times of my anxiety phases, however, today I am taking a new approach because the symptoms are interfering with my career. My heart jumps out of my chest daily, I’m short of breath always, my thoughts run faster than I ever could, and my body either can’t stop shaking or tensing up. It’s one hell of a roller coaster that I now refuse to ride during my workday.

So, I found a great psychiatrist, who has evaluated my symptoms, including what is known as GADGeneral Anxiety Disorder. She recommended certain types of psychotherapy treatment and a few good psychologists. I have my intake this week and we will be doing CBT Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I will tell you more about my experience with it once things get rolling. But she also recommended medication – Lexapro. I’ve never taken anxiety medication, so I was a bit nervous, but also excited. I’m taking half a pill right now and so far I feel great. I’m in my first few days and I haven’t felt anxious once. I can feel that my body wants to be anxious, but the meds won’t let it. I can feel the conflict inside me, but the medication is winning. I feel like it also has slowed down my thoughts and is helping me concentrate better. Hopefully, I won’t experience and downfalls to the medication, but it can happen.

Other things that work to reduce anxiety

I’ve also found a noticeable difference when I listen to motivational content in the mornings and throughout my days. I will YouTube motivational speeches or interviews and it will boost my mood immediately. The people I listen to are people who have found great success and are leaders in the world today. They believe in bettering ones-self in all aspects and listening to their stories and messages have helped me reframe many of my thoughts – from bad to good. Some other videos I listen to include mediation and worship music that help soothe my soul. Meditation is powerful and can help calm the body and mind down. Worship brings me a certain peace and joy that I don’t experience from anything else.

My hopes for living with anxiety

I hope to learn how to reframe my thoughts and the way I perceive situations that make me anxious. I hope to learn skills that will help me cope. And I hope to be an example to those who are looking for help with their anxiety because it’s a burden to their personal and professional lives. If I can defeat my anxiety, I know you can, too.

Welcome to my new site!

Hello and welcome to AdrianaMichelle.net.

I’ve redesigned this site to share my journey of growing personally and professionally in hopes to help others do the same. I come from humble beginnings and have faced much adversity but despite all that I’ve gone through, I’ve accomplished many great things and wish to continue striving towards new and exciting endeavors. Today, I still face many challenges in my personal and professional life, however, I choose to persevere. I’ve always found that growth comes from overcoming hardship and I’m at a point in my life where I understand that nothing worthwhile will come without challenges. I will be using this blog as a platform to share my stories, struggles, and successes and encourage others to keep going even when the going gets tough – personally and professionally!