"Everything we went through as a family... we all fought this battle together and though we didn't make it through unscathed, we came out victorious."
Hayley, Alumni Student
Where are you now?
Last year, I completed my bachelor's degree at 28. My first go at college when I was 18 did not go so well and I took five years off to learn about the world and myself. I had a job working in the state legislature part time and I waited tables to support myself. I drove all over the country visiting friends and seeing new places. I moved 600 miles away from my family for a fairytale romance with a military man, and I realized just in time that I wanted more than the life I would have as his wife.
When I came back home and continued working in state government, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in public service and so I returned to school to do just that. Now I am gainfully employed as a Legislative Aide in county government. I've had three long-term romantic relationships in the thirteen years since I left New Haven, each of them built on trust, authenticity, respect, and compassion.
Even amidst the devastation I felt when they ended, I honored, forgave, and took care of myself. I still get depressed, hopeless, and anxious sometimes. Some days it's difficult just to get out of bed let alone go to work. But when I sink into that place, I don't feel lost there. New Haven helped me map out my escape route.
"New Haven helped me figure out my escape route."
Hayley, Alumni Student
How would you describe your family relationships now?
I am extremely close with my mom & sisters (my dad did not complete the program). They are my strongest pillars of support. I live close to my mom and even closer to my older sister, and we see each other often. Everything we went through as a family --the trauma, the fallout, the separation, and the repair --gave us a bond that is sort of war-like: we all fought this battle together and though we didn't make it through unscathed, we came out victorious.
What part of New Haven was most helpful?
New Haven taught me the importance of building a robust support network and a plan for activating that network when I need support. I learned how to ask for what I need and how to reciprocate that support. Before New Haven, my relationships were toxic, one-sided, and bonded by negativity. The relationships I have with my close friends now are deep and fulfilling; they are rooted in kindness, mutualism, gratitude, and a rich, unmistakable love. New Haven equipped me with tools in my toolbox that I still use today.
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