Before I came to Brighton Center’s Center for Employment training (CET), I struggled with a lifelong belief that I wasn’t really good enough. I had skills, but none that were sharply developed.

I’ve always sort of been a jack of all trades with a fear of success. 
I have never thought of myself as patient, but I guess hope is a form of patience and having hope can be a miracle. Hope that things would get better someday was all I had to dream by. I was working a temp job that I hated because it was far too physically strenuous for my body to handle, and a co-worker took the time to notice my pain and asked me why I didn’t get an office job. I replied that I didn’t have the skills, and she told me about CET. She said she regretted that she didn’t finish the program and urged me to look into it. I would love to see her now and thank her for pointing out the path that would change my life. I would do all I could to convince her to return. 

At the beginning of my journey here, I was determined to shine. I wanted a better life and I felt like this was my last chance since traditional college hadn’t worked for me. My Associate Degree and awards from art school never seemed to get me anywhere. I wanted to be perfect, and I became discouraged and withdrawn with each mistake I made. However, I found the staff and my fellow students to be very supportive and forgiving. I started to learn that I didn’t have to be perfect to do well; I just had to do my best. One of my greatest barriers has always been the fear of “saying the wrong thing”, of “looking stupid,” or offending someone unintentionally. I would obsess over a simple conversation for days, analyzing everything I said and how it might have been interpreted. However, as I observed my fellow students interact during Success Skills, I realized they weren’t judging each other, and they weren’t judging me. 
I began to realize that I had gone through life with a negative attitude, and I started changing and growing. I began actively trying to build relationships with positive people, and I began working cooperatively as part of a group for the first time. I found that the parts of me which I had always tried to hide could in fact be shared in a tactful and appropriate way, and that allowed me to open up and be myself without fear. I learned to define myself and what success means to me in a new way. I no longer felt like a damsel in distress in need of rescuing. I began to feel like a strong individual and a partner to the good, supportive man who had become part of my life only a year before I began CET. 

Brighton Center has impacted every facet of my life. My personal relationships have grown more positive as I have learned to accept and expect positivity from myself and others. Although I began rather self-absorbed, I have enjoyed seeing my fellow students grow into outgoing and positive friends. I get an amazing feeling of capability when I can help someone work through and understand projects from the curriculum, and I have learned to accept help from others. The Conflict Management workshop really impressed upon me the wisdom to say, “It’s not you versus me, it’s us versus the problem”; a perspective which has become common in my household during disagreements. 

I have always had hopes and dreams, but I never believed so many would become a reality. I have learned to accept good things for myself, and to embrace the challenges of success. Now, as I prepare to leave CET and begin a career with a reputable company, I am quickly realizing new hopes and dreams, and gleefully naming them goals. I want to start a college fund for my young daughter, and work towards getting her into a good school. I never want her to feel like she isn’t good enough to achieve goals. I want to give back to my family and community, and continue building and growing with the wonderful man who has stood by me through my journey. Although I am afraid of the unknown challenges, I now have the courage and skills to face them one day at a time. 

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