Finishing my degree at The University of Maryland was one of the best investments I ever made. I remember a few people along the way telling me that I didn't need a degree in order to be or feel successful. And I understood where they were coming from because they saw me struggle with the amount of work I took on and how I handled stress (not amazingly!) But I think I felt very differently about the feeling of success than them. Maybe? 

I wanted something more than just to be able to apply for and get jobs in my future. I wanted to complete something that was never an option for me. I wanted to reach way beyond where I had come from. I wanted to push boundaries for me that were average for another DC-type person. I wanted to be something I never imagined I could be. 

And I am very grateful that I pushed through my own internal drama - because there was a lot of self doubt while pursuing my degree. And also grateful that I pushed past the high or low expectations of others because that felt like a lot as well - especially in the moment. I had to trust deeply that the path I was pursuing was the right one.

I forget about that period of my life (except for when my student loan bills arrive as they never let me forget that!) because life right now feels so intense. But I was reminded about my "why" and feeling around getting my degree because the other day I was able to stand tall in front of a crowd and share with them all things health and wellness. With surety, knowing and understanding of the trials of life. 

But I am also very aware that I did not get myself here on my own. Especially when I come to a new plateau, I think about every person who conspired with me to get me here. Like my longtime ex who started writing my papers in my first year of school as I was a bad writer - but I was also paralyzed from the amount of work in front of me! He also made my school lunches exactly how I wanted! Thanks, D! Like the people who opened their homes to me when I had to live out of a suitcase to follow my dreams of teaching health and wellness. Like the friends who bake cookies (gluten-free!) for me and do movie nights in. Like my dear friends who invite me to summer vacations every year and make the most scrumptious meals and drinks for me - always making space without hesitation. Like the friends who read and edit my writing. And everyone who has made time out of their own busy schedule to make sure I am on track. Thank you!


There is this Buddhist method I learned from The Dalai Lama's book An Open Heart called, Exchanging Self for Others, where "we work at recognizing how dependent we are on others for all we have". We must recognize that it would be hard for us to count all of the people who are involved with providing us a simple slice of bread (although don't eat too much of that!) Every thing we have developed internally and externally have been done so by others doing. So we must also come to appreciate even those who provide difficulty in our lives. Right now I am personally thinking of all of the folks who’ve made my life easier in my instance above but it's fair to count all of those who have hurt or challenged us, too. For we wouldn't be where we are today without every single one of them!  It’s a nice way to turn something around.

In the end I deeply understood where my friends and family were coming from when they told me I would still be perfect whether I went to school or not. I feel very much the same person as I was before school but a better version of me. A grounded person able to take more on as I step out of my comfort zone. It was this stepping out that gave me the tools I needed to motivate others despite their challenges in front of them. And now I teach how to build resiliency and that is hard to put a price tag on. (I try to think of this when I make my school payments!)


I am grateful to share with you my new free downloadable health and wellness guide. Just a few health and wellness tips to keep you on track to your goals!

Download HERE!

Thank you all for reading. I really appreciate your notes, questions, comments when I post! It keeps me connected to you even if I don’t see your faces as much any more!


Jessica Sandhu