I'm a senior this year, studying Astrophysics and East Asian Studies at Valpo. I keep myself busy with my classes, tutoring, and doing research. I love astrophysics and am applying to graduate school this year to go get my Ph.D. I’d like to study solar physics and hopefully someday end up being a professor at a large university teaching and doing research. When I’m not in class, or doing research, I’m doing yoga, watching movies, cooking something gluten free, or shopping. On top of all that I have Crohn’s. I was diagnosed in high school, and have only a few very short remissions since then. My school work makes me happy, although it can be very challenging. I have had a hard time balancing my lofty education goals and my disease. Some days I can’t make it to class, or when I do get to class I can’t focus because I don’t feel well. I’ve had to miss weeks of class at a time for doctor’s appointments out of state. Along with my Crohn’s I have a few other autoimmune conditions which require even more time and attention. I can’t even begin to describe how discouraging it can be sometimes. I’ve never given up though, because although I often define myself by what I do, including battling my disease, I never let my disease define me. My family and friends have been a great support, and great disability support services at school to make sure my professors are on the same page as me.
My "story" isn't about how I was really sick for awhile and struggled and got better. It’s about how I was really sick and how I work towards full health every day, my story is what I do in spite of my circumstances. My favorite way to advocate for Crohn’s is awareness. Often when I tell people what I have they have never heard of it before, and it’s hard to sum up in just a few words! I also like making connections with others who have Crohn’s, because we go through a lot of the same things. Just being able to talk to someone who goes through the same thing you do can make all the difference. I look forward to some day being both fully healthy, and having my Ph.D. in Astrophysics and nothing can stop me from doing both.