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A weekly inside look at the unique faces and personalities that make up The College of Wooster community.

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

What gives you strength to handle everything you’re doing?

My girls; my three daughters. They give me the strength every day to wake up and do what I do. I have some big goals in life and I just want to help people. I know that with going to college, getting a degree to be a physical therapy assistant, I can do that — although I’m not sure that’s what I want to do anymore, I think I want to be a peer recovery coach — but either way, helping people in the world. I just take it one day at a time. Time management is huge; I’m getting better at being a planner and not living moment to moment. One day I’ll focus on my school work, and then I know my set days that I have to come in and do my job, and I’m lucky to have a great support system. It really is just one day at a time. I’m kind of a free spirit, so whatever I can get done, I get done in that day, and I don’t stress about it because as long as I’m doing the best that I can, that’s all that matters.

What are you looking ahead to?

Yeah, so I’m actually moving to Colorado. I’ve done some training to be a volunteer for our local shelter — domestic violence groups and stuff — so I kind of want to take that with me when I go. I’m looking into a scholarship program, and I’m hoping they’ll pay for my training and my certification to be a peer recovery coach. I’ve already looked into stuff over in Colorado, and it’s pretty pricey, so I’m hoping the scholarship program they have in Millersburg will help me. But yeah, I’m just ready to start a new life. I’ve been here my whole entire life, 29 years, and I’m really looking forward to getting my girls a new opportunity, showing them that you don’t have to stay in one place, that there’s a whole other world out there, and it’s hard work to get there, but we’re putting it in.

What do students get wrong about people who live in Wooster and the surrounding areas?

I know that Wooster has a bad rap sheet. I mean, you have those bad groups of people everywhere you go, and I know that people like to spotlight that a lot of time. But there are a lot of good people, too; I’ve met a lot of wonderful people that work here that live in Wooster. I don’t live in Wooster — I live 25 miles in the opposite direction — but down there too, we have that bad group of people, and a lot of times people just like to focus on that. But it’s all about shifting your mindset. We come in here every day to help you guys — and of course to pay our bills and stuff, there’s that too — but yeah, I would say you can’t just always define people by the negative you see, there’s always good and it goes a long way when you switch your mindset.

How do you have so much empathy for college students?

I came from a really rocky background. Like I said, I was a recovering addict; I’ve been to jail; I have a rap sheet; I’ve lived the opposite life of what I’m living now. And coming through that, I’ve just completely shifted, really, the way I think and the way I view other human beings. We all come from different areas of the world, we’re all raised differently and I guess you have to keep that in mind.

A lot of people don’t know what you know, and they’ve experienced different things than you have; they may not be aware of the same things. Like, when students just leave the messes that they have, I think, like, did their parents ever teach them to clean up after themselves? Were they catered to their whole entire lives? What’s happening to them today, what’s going on in their heads? We all live and think differently, and we don’t get to our final destination unless we work as a team. If we’re constantly like, “Oh, how dare they do this?” and only think about the negatives, then that’s the downfall of everything; we’re not going to get anywhere. I just try to put myself in everyone else’s shoes.The [justice dialogue] was great, because I feel like I could come in and just give a breath of fresh air to what people think.

Three things that bring you joy?

Singing and music is a big one. Positivity, too… and kindness; kindness brings me joy.

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