Plansoen Scholar Highlight: Chantel Smith

Hello to everyone at FPC. I hope you are healthy and well. 

Since we’ve last met, I’ve been focusing on a few key areas in my life. School is always my priority and it is going very well. I was nervous about the online format for a while, but I have adjusted, and I think I might prefer it to in person classes (a hybrid learning experience sounds appealing too though). 

I also secured an internship in the Spring with North Chicago Community Partners. They are an organization focused on serving the students and families in the North Chicago school district. I am very excited to work with the bright minds of our future and serve as a support system to help them thrive inside and outside of the classroom. 

Additionally, I am working on my graduate application for Aurora University. I want to pursue an MSW with a school social work concentration. I want to help support the many diverse children within our school systems with they are many diverse needs. I plan to start in Summer of 2021, but I have to get accepted first (self-nudge to get my application finished)! Anyway, I should have my application completed by the end Thanksgiving break if everything goes according to plan.  

I am still working retail at the Naval Base which has become increasingly difficult with rising COVID cases. It’s difficult to enforce safety protocols to others who may not agree with them or don’t acknowledge the importance of the preventive measures, but I’m doing my best. I enjoy my job overall, but I feel as though it may be time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life and so I’m currently on a job hunt. I’m looking for something related to my field of study. Hunting for a job in the middle of a pandemic can be a bit frustrating, but I am patient and excited for whatever opportunities may come my way. 

I’ve also been working on prioritizing my mental health. Balancing school, work, and home life can really put a strain on the body and mind. Life naturally has obstacles, but the pandemic and the consequences of the pandemic seem to intensify those obstacles even more. Some days I become so overwhelmed with feelings of frustration, anxiety, or sadness that it’s hard to function. It’s so easy to just sweep those feelings under the rug or push them away, but I’ve been working on allowing myself to experience my emotions to the fullest extent so that I can process them, and eventually move past them. I do this by practicing a lot of mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, physical exercise, and just talking about it. They really work for me, so I hope maybe at least one of them can work for you if you’re struggling with the craziness of life in 2020. 

It’s unfortunate that we haven’t had much involvement with the church since our last meeting, but I hope that we can see each other in the near future. I think I speak for all the scholars when I say we cannot thank you enough for your contribution to our education and lives. Remember to stay safe, healthy, take care of yourselves and loved ones, and count your blessings.


Sending lots of love, 

Chantel Smith

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