Christie Lee: Defying Labels
Single mother. Three jobs. Family losses. Briefly homeless.
Put those cards into a deck, shuffle them, and you might think you’ll come up with a losing hand. But that’s not how I saw my ending, Graduate 20’.“I’ve been told I won’t accomplish what I’ve started, but no matter what judgment is made about me, it will never touch me unless I let it,” I will repeat. “Labels will not define who I am.”
I’m enrolled at Becker College the School of Graduate & Professional Studies, on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in certification as an alcohol/drug abuse counselor. “My dreams and aspirations are big, and always have been.”
“Helping others has always been my passion, as well as serving as a role model. My goal is to become an alcohol and drug counselor and show others that no matter what their background or the obstacles they face, they can break the stigma.”
Obstacles are certainly something quite familiar to me. After my divorce I became a single parent, living in a state where I had no family. “I was starting my life over and was not sure what direction I was headed in.” While I had always dreamed of earning a bachelor’s degree—in 2016 I requested transcripts from a New York college I had attended 20 years previous—financially it wasn’t a realistic dream at the time. “A personal quote that I’ve shared with my son is, ‘It’s hard to have dreams, if you have to work hard at surviving.’”
Then I heard a radio ad that changed my life.
“I was driving to work in October 2017 and not happy where my life was.” “I heard a radio ad offering adult classes with flexible schedules. That’s when I decided to email Becker. I received a phone call that helped answer my questions, then enrolled in January 2018. Becker helped me feel like it was possible to fulfill my dream. That’s when I started to have hope again.”
My biggest challenges since becoming a student—besides being a full-time parent, juggling three jobs, and staying focused on school work—has been “not forgetting to practice self-care. I’ve made my life change for a better version of me.”
My hard work has paid off. In 2018 I received a scholarship through One Family, Inc., to support me through graduation, was selected that same year to participate in the Millennium Fellowship and for the School’s Dean’s Council, received a grant through Letters Foundation in 2019, inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda National Society 2020, and made the Deans List with a 3.9 GPA.
During my time of isolation, pandemic 2020, I have taken myself back through time, finding all my journal entries from 2013-2017, WOW!!
Years, that had been the toughest, with many tears.
Yes, at first it was hard to read, but it then started to draw me back and to really see who I was at that time.
Who was I really?
Single mother, Divorcee, Woman
How was I feeling?
Scared, Weak, Not enough
Who would of thought?
Graduate of 2020 during a pandemic.
When you really dig deep within yourself and use the pain to push through all the judgement and ignorance, the results is a beautiful journey.
♥️ Beautiful Disaster, I’m enough and I’m a warrior.
My values are giving back to the community. Since 2016, I have volunteered on Sundays at Central New England Equine Rescue. My motto, that I say, is “Mucking out stalls makes a good Sunday.”
Beautiful Disaster is a force of strong, beautiful souls, evolving with endless aspirations. A tribe of warriors.