Mariah

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Mariah

I was always an A-honor-roll student. I went to magnet schools for science and technology for both middle school and high school, was at the top of my class, and always did more than anyone ever asked of me. So it was no surprise when I got into the 2nd best aerospace engineering school in the country, Georgia Tech. But three days before I left for Atlanta, I was helping my mom up off the sidewalk and herniated three discs in my spine. I left home anyway, not having any idea how bad the situation actually was. I was only 18, so when I went to the doctor complaining about back pain but not having been in any sort of accident, the doctor found me hard to take seriously. It took six months for me to find a doctor that would even take an MRI. Eventually after five epidural cortisone injections, two years of physical therapy and a year in a wheelchair I decided it was time to go back home, and left Georgia Tech. I had surgery on my spine over the summer and four weeks later went back to Georgia to continue school. If I were smarter I would have come home sooner and stayed longer, but hind-sight is 20/20. I struggled through recovering through spine surgery and aerospace engineering classes for another school year before I realized that not only did something need to change, but I could no longer afford to pay out-of-state tuition and because of my degree progress (or lack thereof), the Georgia Tech financial aid department refused to help me. Again, I went back home. I realized at this point that the 2nd best school in the country wouldn’t work out for me, and wasn’t sure if aerospace engineering was what I was meant to do. Thus far in my life, I had never even considered doing anything else, so I truly felt lost. I started at ACC in August of 2010. It didn’t take long for me to clear my head and realize that an 18 year old doesn’t have massive spine problems for no reason. I realized that I was meant to be a doctor, and that “plan B” was actually “plan A”. I feel that it is my destiny to help people the same way the doctors and physical therapists helped me, and that nothing else was as important to me as this. One day, in about 8 years, I will be an orthopedic surgeon, helping other people overcome their spine problems, whether they were acquired by genetics, trauma or just stupidity. And if it weren’t for ACC, I wouldn’t have had the chance to start over that I needed. For now, I’m simply a biology major/pre-med student at the Rio Grande campus, glad to be welcome and able to afford the classes I need.

Submitted at Are You ACC?