Analesi Johnson submitted 2020-05-06

From a young age I was told, “little girls should be seen and not heard.” This phrase shaped my understanding of the world and how I believed I was valued by everyone around me. I was conditioned to only speak when spoken to, leaving me feeling as though I wasn’t allowed to advocate for myself. I was desperate to have my voice heard, validated and understood. I spent a large part of my childhood in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services, and therefore spent most of my life in survival mode. I did what I needed to get by but had little energy or mental capacity to extend myself any further. As I emerged into adulthood and started to look back on these experiences, a fire was lit inside of me and my purpose in life became clear: to be the person I needed as I was growing up, someone who could instill in me a sense of hope despite challenging circumstances. My ambition to become a nurse is a direct result of the now corrected false beliefs from my childhood, and I believe I can use the platform of nursing to exercise my voice and power on behalf of others and myself.

I have been working towards becoming the supportive person that I needed when I was a child, and was able to take a large step in this direction in the past two years. After receiving my Liberal Arts degree from GCC I moved on to earn my Bachelors of Science in Psychology degree at the University of Massachusetts in December of 2017. My college career was challenging, and after struggling through it I started to realize that growth and comfort do not coexist. Risks are necessary for success and self-actualization. This led me to move 5,000 miles away to work for Pacific Quest a few months after graduation, doing horticulture-based wilderness therapy with adolescents on the island of Hawai’i. Life had provided me the skills to specialize in crisis intervention and one-on-one support for our highest risk students. Trauma, which was once my largest obstacle, became my greatest teacher and taught me how to be the calm during someone else’s storm.  This experience was incredibly challenging but highly fulfilling at the same time; in order to help others in the capacity I wanted to, I had to learn to take ownership of my own story and find the power in my voice. In the fall of 2019 I returned to Massachusetts as a woman with confidence, knowing that my voice is worthy of being heard and that I have so much to offer.

My work in Hawai’i instilled in me a sense of purpose and the confidence to enter school for the third time to pursue the remaining prerequisites for a nursing degree. I found that unlike in previous schooling experiences during which I had little belief I had a new passion for achieving. After finishing my first semester, I received a letter in the mail saying I had made the Dean’s list. This was a huge accomplishment for me and motivates me to continue learning and growing. These small victories have instilled in me a sense of confidence that I’ve never experienced before and illuminated that I have always been the only agent of change in my life. I proved to myself that I have far more to offer than I once believed.

The next challenge I hope to rise to, and the next step in furthering my impact as someone who can provide support to others, is earning my nursing degree. I’ve worked various jobs for the majority of my life, as it has been necessary in my commitment to being financially self-sufficient. Recently I’ve realized that school needs to come first in my process of investing in my future. Receiving a scholarship would be integral to furthering my education, as it would allow me to work fewer hours and focus more fully on my schoolwork. I am enthusiastically applying for this scholarship, confident that I will put my full self into earning my degree and doing the necessary work to go above and beyond expectations. I am committed to obtaining a nursing degree at Greenfield Community College and look forward to helping people recover and to thrive in the same ways that I now do.