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  • Linda Palmer

In Part IV, Mackenzie Faces New Challenges.

Part IV

School has always been a huge outlet for me. It felt like something I had control over throughout my life, even when I didn’t have control over anything else. Immersing myself in school felt productive and safe.

In my small St. Louis high school, where everyone knew me, I felt defined by my experiences with my biological family and then in foster care. So, when I headed off to college, I was ecstatic! I felt that I could do whatever I wanted and be whatever I wanted. It was going to be easy.

And then I got there, and I was terrified. I was lonely, anxious, sad, and convinced I was going to flunk out. The first semester is hard for everyone, but I had no safety net. I felt so much pressure to get my degree and be able to support myself.

One of the ways I acclimated to student life was by joining an organization called Civic House. It is a hub for student-led community service and social advocacy work that prepares students for responsible and effective civic engagement and leadership. It would prove to be a game-changer for me very quickly.

Read on next week to uncover the meaning of Chosen Family

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