This past summer, I went to an all-girls boarding program called HomeWorks Trenton. Going to the program changed the way I thought of myself. The previous year, I was in a very bad state of mind and did not want to be a part of any social group. At school, I was known for being smart. I was afraid of disappointing them because of this reputation. I was anxious to put myself out there, because if I failed, everyone would judge me. These thoughts caused me to become severely stressed out about what other people thought about me. I did not want my top priority to be about people liking me and assimilating to their expectations. I began to isolate myself from friends and family.
While being in the program, I had to live with nine other girls. We participated in many bonding activities. We grew close to each other throughout the program and learned to respect each other’s opinions, even if they were different.
It got to the point where we called ourselves sisters. It was here that I did not feel like I was an outcast. I felt supported in everything I did, whether they would encourage me or give me suggestions on how to fix my ideas.
For the first time, I felt like I was a part of something that meant so much to me. I am more open minded, and I am not afraid to speak my truth. I put myself in challenging situations that made me uncomfortable. I started to feel less stressed about making someone else happy and having them like me. I now know my self worth, and I do not need anyone to tell me otherwise.
Being a part of HomeWorks this past summer taught me how powerful it is when women come together as a community to solve problems. It has taught me to listen to everyone's ideas, and that sometimes being part of a group is more powerful than one individual.