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Studying While Homeless

Growing up, I knew I had to play it smart to avoid any trouble. I would always tell myself that it’s better to be a 7/10 across the board than to be a 10/10 in one thing and a 2/10 in another. If I couldn’t be the best, at least you wouldn’t notice my weaknesses. This mentality traveled with me and reflected my grades, my social life all through to how I navigated the workplace. I aim to strive for greatness in a way that avoids limiting endless opportunities for my growth so I never understood why people around me would always try to narrow my interests so much. I'm simply known as the young lady doing "her thing" and this is the manner by which I explore life.

Being the eldest in an African family meant that I inherited many responsibilities I never asked for. I was in charge of translating letters, helping my parents manage bills and a co-parent to my siblings. I’d always be showered by what I used to see as a compliment. “You’re so mature for your age, your parents are lucky.” It would keep me in check and remind me that I had to stay in control of myself so I can look after others properly. However, what maturity didn’t prepare me for was the death of my best friend in year 11 and what was the start of my mental spiral.

I remember scrolling through all the RIP posts on my best friend’s wall and it just didn’t make any sense to me. It was the first time a death had actually felt like a loss and I had no idea how to process the news. I found myself continuing my day as if nothing had happened. I didn’t know how not to have a routine, to process emotions. I wasn’t heartless, it was all just confusing and no one showed me what to do, like how they did with a new topic or sport.