The journey we’ve shared with you for the past 15 months is about more than just me and Ivan. It’s about my (blog-shy) family as well. I hope to spotlight all of them in the near future, but Anna is the first one to give me the green light. 😉
The best place to start is her age. Anna was only 20 when the accident happened, right in the middle of her junior year of undergrad. Her dedication was paying off already – she planned to graduate early in spite of majoring in applied statistics (with an emphasis in biology). My only explanation for her crazy degree is that she’s super smart and super okay with studying all day, every day. These details lay a decent foundation for her side of the story, so let’s skip to the exciting parts.
December 3rd could not have come at a worse time for Anna. Her finals were scheduled for the following couple of weeks, and they were pretty intimidating. I think one was in microbiology. While the faculty at CBU were extremely sympathetic both to our tragedy and all the lectures she needed to skip, the best advice they offered was to withdraw from the semester and start again in the spring. From their perspective, such a talented student shouldn’t hazard any bad grades on her transcript – especially since Anna was headed for grad school. Their opinion made sense for most student types, except that Anna isn’t like most students. She’s stubborn as well as intelligent. Instead of withdrawing, she carved out time to study in the ICU, in her portion of midnight vigils, and in various neurological and step-down units. She made straight A’s.
Anna’s degree didn’t get any easier in the spring semester, but somehow she managed to visit almost every day while we lived in Riverside (our apartment was close to her school). We incurred an unfortunate number of urgent care runs in February and Anna made it to Kaiser for all of them (laptop in tow). As I grew stronger she took me on short outings like haircuts and ice cream runs. Wrangling a wheel chair didn’t bother her, and she also wasn’t afraid to supervise a walker or cane once I was strong enough to walk. Somehow she did well on her spring finals too.
The summer flew by since Anna was given a full-time, high intensity statistics internship, but at least we both lived in San Jose at that point. She was there for me as often as possible in spite of an unfamiliar and demanding work environment. Her return to Riverside in the fall was bittersweet, but I knew Anna was excited to finish her degree. Apparently it wasn’t enough just to be a student, though. She kept up with her summer job remotely, this time as a real contractor instead of as a student intern. She graduated in December magna cum laude – and yes, she did it a semester early after all.
Anna’s success story doesn’t even end there. She started as a full time-time analyst for a major healthcare entity last Monday, and still plans to apply for grad school this fall. Pretty impressive for a 21 year-old, don’t you think? She’s probably a little embarrassed by this post and would definitely tell you all these blessings are gifts from God. I agree with her, but I still think it takes an amazing individual to overcome devastating odds and succeed at both school and work – all while putting God and her family first. Thank you, Anna!