Where are you from? Where do you go to school? What are you studying?
Hello, I'm Katie! I am a 24-year old student from Brewster, MA but I currently live in Burlington, VT. I am in the final stretch of my undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Behavior Change Health Studies.
How did you get involved with Concussed.?
Cait and I got in touch via email at some point in 2020 through our mutual involvement with LoveYourBrain, another organization supporting people with traumatic brain injuries. We became virtual pen pals and quickly realized we share a lot in common, and finally met in person at the first-ever Concussed. retreat in June 2021! That experience was incredibly therapeutic and healing for me, and I knew I wanted to continue working with the organization and help Cait in any way I could.
What are you looking forward to most while working with Concussed.?
Something that is really special about working with Concussed. is how personal the mission is to me. I am someone who has suffered multiple concussions and navigates Post-Concussion Syndrome myself, so through this opportunity to intern with Cait I am able to take my own experiences and directly apply them to the work we are doing to support others. It’s pretty cool to be able to help create something that will benefit people just like me while continuing on my own process of healing and growth. I am most excited to connect with and learn from more people in the brain injury community and open up space for stories to be shared.
How did you get to where you are now?
My journey through college has been a winding series of ups and downs, starts and stops, and lots of bumps in the road. Getting to UVM was a massive feat in and of itself, as I took an (accidental) gap year after high school and had a really hard time swaying from the “correct path” we are presented with so often growing up. What I mean by this is the societally pressurized idea that life consists of a specific series of events, which “need” to happen at a specific time, and in a specific order. You know– first comes graduating from high school, then on to a 4-year university (to complete in 4 years), then get a good job, and on and on and on. What society doesn’t teach you growing up is that life rarely goes according to that plan, and there is no one “correct” or “right” way to do it. What works for some of us doesn’t work for all of us, and we each walk uniquely through the world and experience it differently. And (perhaps most importantly), life is not a race.
I am currently in my senior and final year at UVM. From full-time semesters to part-time semesters, to gap semesters, and more gap years - my path has looked much more like a scribbled twisty multidirectional loop than anything resembling a straight line– and that is okay. We tend to forget about our wellness (mental, physical, emotional) when we become preoccupied with this idea of “staying on track”, and what I’ve learned from my experience is that once you begin to move away from that “track”, you realize there isn’t any sort of track at all. The path I’m creating - whatever it may look like or turn into - it’s the right one because it’s mine.