When I had my son at the young age of thirteen, I was constantly scrutinized for being a young teen mother. I remember one time while attending a family function a family member telling me “You’re going too just keep having babies and living off of welfare for the rest of your life”. While that comment was designated to keep me down it did the complete opposite. That night I walked over to the families’ desktop computer and searched “highest education level of a young teen mother”. What I read was astonishing, I believe it was the year 2009, and it stated only two percent of teen mother’s successfully complete their bachelor’s degree by the age of thirty, can you believe till this day this statistic remains the same! [1] When I read this I vowed I would never live up to the standards of that statistic.

 Studies have shown that high levels of education contribute to lower levels of mental stress later on in life [2]. Education contributes to human capital which includes cognitive development, character development, knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Adults with higher levels of education are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as smoking and drinking and have healthy behaviors relating to diet and exercise. Adults with higher levels of education have lower exposure to stress and therefore less inclined than those with lower levels of education to adopt unhealthy coping behaviors for stress[3].

With that being said, education is definitely a game changer when it involves mental health. No, I’m not saying to be healthy and happy mentally you have to have a degree. Education can include a range of things whether it’s a trade, or even educating yourself on a particular topic. Once you have a passion, a goal; this can help with mental health overall. Personally when I attended St. John’s University for my B.S. I was exposed to so many walks of life. I learned things my mother and father never taught me. One subject I remember in particular that was instrumental in my mental health was philosophy. I learned about the Greater Good (A utilitarianism theory by philosophers) and feeding the soul rather than the beast (Plato ethics and theory). Although these were just theories, it helped me build my identity; it helped me tap into myself and understand the importance of character and feeding your passion rather than seeking instant gratification, and hey I guess it worked out in my favor!

 Here I am 25 years of age & I’m six months away from being conferred my Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling! Feeding my passion, a blessing indeed!