Ellen Sandlian

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been driven by a love of learning and a desire for success. But for much of my life I made no effort to define that success. Success to me was whatever my teachers and society told me it was. It was a four-year university. It was a career. It was a house. It was 9 to 5. All through my life, I poured energy into whatever I was told I was good at, and very rarely anything that I just wanted to do. This internal pressure took its toll, and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety as soon as I entered high school. I struggled with these things for many years and they still affect me, but I held the attitude that my mental health was no excuse. After coming home from an out-of-state university after only a few months, I was still desperate to continue my education but had no idea what I wanted to do. I came to CCA disheartened and confused, but with the realization that I didn’t have to know what I would be doing 10 years down the road. To this day, I keep an open mind, but I’ve decided that my love of learning and desire for challenge should play a role in my life. I’m now pursuing a career in teaching. I still worry sometimes, but I believe the support I receive from my wonderful family and from CCA can give me the world and then some.