If you don’t already know me, I am Stevie Sampedro. I am new to the school this year and I am so glad to be a part of such a wonderful community that has welcomed me with open arms.
This past year and a half has been hard for me: I have lost a few close people in my life to death and from broken relationships, but I have learned the importance of trusting others and letting the past go. I went on a mission trip to Tanzania to build a school and lost my sight in my Catholic Faith, or a view of my relationship with God. I was quarantined in the hospital when I arrived home and was quote on quote misdiagnosed with Mono and Hepatitis B, which ended up being Coxsackie virus strain 3 and 4 and chronic fatigue syndrome. I was so sick, physically exhausted, and unhappy, I had to do independent study for a month and a half of my junior year. I transferred to Fusion and Futures Academies my second semester of junior year in order to help my health. I lost my best friend who left me to deal with my challenges on my own despite a promise to be by my side no matter what. I transferred again here for my senior year, and had a life changing surgery in October. Also, I found out in February I have learning disabilities I never knew I had: dyslexia and dysgraphia. Like I said, it has been a tough year!
Little did I know, during this time, I would lose my focus and my attention: school started to become a struggle for me as it never was before. The subjects I loved and had a passion for started to seem pointless to me and I couldn’t even explain to myself why. I started to fall behind in school which I have never done before, and I couldn’t take tests without having panic attacks or crying. I began to lose trust in myself which was the last thing I ever thought could happen to me. I began to not want to get out of bed each day because I didn’t see the point in trying when I had no passion towards anything and no hope. I also lacked the essential trust I used to have in God during this time, as I felt He was not there to help me get better and He was just sitting and watching on the sidelines. In March 2019, I had a moment in my life that would forever change who I am and who I will be, but it also brought me back to trusting God. As most of the seniors know, I have a roman numeral date tattoo on my arm and this is a forever reminder for me to be who I was made by God to be and nothing less than His vision. From this moment on, I let go of everything that happened in the past year and a half that I blamed on God and I slowly started to gain back my trust in Him. I am thankful for everyone who prayed for me throughout my time of suffering because I believe, in part, it contributed to me being able to pull myself out of the ditch I was in. I attended mass again for the first time in almost a year, and a priest at my church, Father Pat, finally gave me the advice to let go of all the troubles that have occurred in my life and to fully trust in God again. I also developed an even stronger trust in my family and my friends who have always been there for me no matter the case.
I learned once I gained my trust back in God about who truly will support me in my life. I lost my best friend a couple of months ago in the same week my grandmother died of colon cancer. My grandmother was a rock in my life and it still does not feel like she is truly gone. The only thing that kept me going at the time of my sickness was my best friend. This person pushed me every day to be a better version of myself and I am a better person because of it. I have learned lessons I will forever value, and I will forever cherish the memories we made together.
Most importantly, I put my only source of happiness in the wrong place during my troubled time: I was so focused on being angry with God for how sick I was, I was blind-sided by the fact that He was trying to help me let go of someone who no longer respected who I was as a person. Once I realized His purpose, I was able to regain trust in Him and His plan for me. Trust is a big issue for many people, especially me, but I have learned that when you let go of the pain from the past, it helps rehabilitate your ability to trust in others again. A lesson I have learned how to let go, move on, and be trusting of others. Every one of you are special and you are put on this earth for a reason, and so is every other person on this earth: you shouldn’t treat anyone poorly or talk about them badly behind their backs because you may not know what they are truly going through. I have experienced this a lot with other people and no one realized the impact of their words on my life until they truly saw what I was going through first hand. Few realized how their negativity impacted my life as my resilience led me to conceal it. Those who realized, though, have become close people in my life. Only a few people truly understood how lost, confused, and isolated I felt because of what I was going through. We should be trying to bring each other up, not tear each other down.
Despite all the pain and suffering, I would not take back this year if I could. It has helped define who I am and who I want to be. I still am working on my faith each and every day as well as my ability to let go of my painful past, and I am strengthening my ability to trust even more because I have now realized that I am bruised, but I will never be broken.