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Celebrating Acacia’s 2021 Graduates

flying graduation cap

As a college-focused organization, we spend a lot of time working with students across California and Minnesota. This passion for higher education extends to our own providers, interns, and administrative staff, many of which who are graduating from undergrad or graduate programs. We are so excited and wanted to take a moment to celebrate Acacia’s 2021 class of graduates!

We asked our grads a few questions on their experiences in school and what advice they would give to others in similar positions.

What’s the most exciting, empowering, or enlightening thing you experienced in your college or graduate program?

“The most empowering thing I learned during my collegiate journey was the idea that it is okay to fail equally as much as you succeed. Because you can’t succeed and grow in college, or in life, without failing and attempting to move forward.”

Andrea, La Jolla

“For me just seeing my clients experience healing through our work together has been the greatest joy and reward for me. That is why I began this journey. Helping people heal from their psychological pain and trauma is sacred work and I am just honored to be entrusted with this role as a therapist.”

Greg, Minneapolis

“In the summer of 2017, I was accepted into a teaching fellowship in Providence, RI where I taught social studies and a Latinx dance elective to elementary and middle school students. I related to these students so much because we shared the commonality of being people of color and growing up in impoverished neighborhoods. In middle school, I used sports and dance as a way to distract me from the life circumstances I had no control over but yet affected my mental health so deeply. My students started off by laughing at the moves and not wanting to dance and ended the summer begging to perform in front of their friends and family what they had mastered. This is one experience I will NEVER forget!”

Brenda, Davis

What advice or affirmation do you think you will take with you on your next leg of the journey?

“The advice I will be taking with me as I step into a new chapter of my life is “Trust the process”. Before coming into college, I was often preoccupied with trying to manipulate the smallest of details in order to make sure that everything would turn out to be perfect. The jam-packed, extra-hectic adjustment to college life, quickly taught me that plans are subject to change no matter how ‘perfectly’ they may have been outlined.
Graduating college has taught me so much academically but I’ve been fortunate to learn even more about life’s endless motions. There are many things left uncertain for me as my college career comes to an end, but I’ve learned to accept that the best I can do is trust the process and believe in my capabilities.”

Jennifer, Isla Vista

“I came across this affirmation a few days ago on someone’s TikTok page (credit to: @karlynndarlin) and feel it truly pertains to my current situation. ‘Just because people are getting things that I want quicker than me, does not mean that it’s still not possible for me. My timeline is not the same as theirs. It is still possible for me. There’s a reason why it is not coming to me right now. There’s a reason I don’t have it right now’.
It took me 7 years to complete my Bachelor’s program and though I was often shamed for this, I am the only one who will ever understand why it took me this long and how much I endured to get here. I will hold this affirmation dear to my heart for all my future endeavors.”

Brenda, Davis

“One affirmation that helped me through the last few years and one that I will be taking with me into my post-college life is: ‘My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil'”

Cheyenne, Westwood

“I love that Maya Angelou quote, ‘Nothing will work unless you do’ which emphasizes the importance of growth, hard work, and self-care. As I enter my MSW program at Columbia University, I know there will be times where I’m tempted to put self-care at the bottom of my priority list. However, as a future mental health professional, I believe it’s important that I practice what I preach.
I plan to set aside much-needed time for my yoga practice, cooking some warm meals, and my family & friends. Eternally grateful that I had to opportunity to work with Acacia La Jolla as both an MHA Intern and an Admin Assistant and definitely hope to return!”

Sheetal, La Jolla
Enrolling in Graduate Program

“Covid times were definitely not ideal to pursue a master’s degree during. But it helped me to realize one vitally important thing about myself and that’s the fact that I can do hard things. I worked through the throws of a global pandemic all while being a student of Peace Studies. I wrote on human rights abuses and systemic violence in real-time. My resilience carried me through and I want to ensure I remember that as I move into the next chapter of my life, wherever that may be.”

Madison, La Jolla

If you could highlight, underline, and bold one growth point you made this past year, what would it be?

“The biggest growth I had this past year was seeking support through therapy and medication management. I withdrew from school a few years ago due to chronic health issues which brought about mental health issues that became debilitating and interfered with my ability to complete daily tasks. After years of work, reflection and change, I have gained the tools necessary to manage my panic attacks, overall anxiety and the debilitations that come with my depression.”

Brenda, Davis

“Over the past year, I would say my biggest growth point was that I learned how to prioritize my mental health and well-being in order to be the best friend, daughter, granddaughter, sister, coworker, and partner I can be for those I love and care about around me. I take the time to reflect on what I’m grateful for and then I show that gratitude. I stay productive academically so that I have free time to give my full energy to spend time with others.
I think I see the world in a different and better light, and because of that, I want to continue doing my part to make the world a better place. I’ve come so far in the last year, and I can’t wait to push myself to continue this growth as I begin my next chapter.”

Alexis, Westwood

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