After almost two-years of debilitating battle with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, I’m back to school at the University of Hawaii West Oahu for full time enrollment–I thank God for His blessings. Because amid health and mental challenges, I still dream to be a Certified Public Accountant and a tax attorney. It means so much to me; Because I know that by helping people file and understand taxes, I am giving back to the community and glory to the Almighty.
But there was a point, when I thought my dream wasn’t happening anymore. Blame it on PTSD and depression, which changed me a hundred-eighty-degrees that I never imagine would ever happened to me.
In old days, I don’t give up easily. In fact, during the lowest point of unemployment, I volunteered to various non-profit organizations. From writing in the quarterly magazine of the Hawaii Paralegal Association (2007 to 2011), to providing legal assistance and administrative support to the Hawaii State Bar Association/Young Lawyers Division (2007 to 2011 in many occasions), to participating in Citizenship Fair of Na Loio and HSBA (2008), to the Bench Warrant Recall program of the Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii (2009), to the Fair Housing program/Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly/Low Income Tax Clinic of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (2008 to 2017), and the VITA of joint Hawaii Alliance of Community Based Economic and the University of Hawaii (2015-2017, and 2019)—I have given myself to the community. In return, I found a purpose. I saved my sanity. I preserved my self-worth. I enriched my soul. Sadly, that optimism was challenged by what I thought was a promising employment.
Amid the punitive damages I endured, I had no thought of getting back at anyone or filing a suit. Though my civil rights were violated; Though I was demeaned and treated unfairly; I saw the humanity in my offenders’ eyes. That they have flaws just like me. Also, I saved the court’s valuable time. Hence, I chose to embraced the pain and entrust everything to God. I prayed for everyone’s healing. And from there, I focused and worked on recovery. I made sure that I get back to my normal life the soonest time possible.
However, to make it clear, I have been doing pro bono; because, I simply saw the community’s need and grabbed the opportunity to do something larger than me.
My good karma: UH West Oahu corresponded to me sometime in May. Through a special cohort, the institution asked what do I need to finish my degree. Through an advisor, the institution offered me a scholarship all the way to my graduation next fall. My only part in the process, was to reapply for admission and financial aid, and to comply with the health requirements of the institution.
Consequently, in this Fall 2019 semester, I am enrolled to five subjects. Out of five, only four need to be paid. Three are paid through financial aid and student loan. And one would probably be outstanding. I plan to work in campus to settle any balance, to get my books and course materials.
Knowing nothing is easy, to be honest, I worry a little. My savings are running too low; and my cash is not enough to last till mid December. But I still would not ask any of my inner circle a favor. My studies are very personal endeavors. That If I am awarded of any scholarships and/or grants, I must earn my eligibility through academic standing. Still, my anxiety is growing.
But on Tuesday night, I watched America’s Got Talent. I witnessed Golden Buzzer Kodi Lee (a blind with autism) sang Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters. And the next thing I knew, my cheeks were wet. I cried, because there was no explanation for Kodi’s talents except for a breakthrough that only God can do.
He truly works in many, many wonders. Because, I am having a breakthrough too. Although I’m financially constrained, I am pursuing higher education in an American institution. Although I missed my Dean’s List last semester by .09 in my GPA, still UHWO is being generous to offer me scholarship. How could I doubt God’s grace and providence?
I really felt so little of myself after watching Kodi. Because, with all His generosity and might, I doubted God will see me through.
YouTube/America’s Got Talent/Kodi Lee/Bridge Over Troubled Water