Here at the Good Girl Comeback we believe that if you set a goal, believe in yourself & work hard you can accomplish anything! Skeptical? Well we have proof! In the GGCB Blog Series “Dream Chasers” you will meet women who did just that – chased their dreams….and caught them!
Meet Christen. Over the past year, I have been lucky enough to connect with her – she is funny, positive, smart and inspiring. By the age of 22, Christen has persevered through some very tough times, but never lost her drive and positive spirit. Her Dream Chaser story is amazing and extremely inspiring:
Tell us a little about yourself. My name is Christen Nino De Guzman. I am 22 years old and just graduated from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. I recently moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to be closer to my family and begin my career!
What was your dream and how did you chase it? My dream was always to go to college. My father was born in Peru and no one on his side of the family had ever gone to college. Earning my degree was always a really important goal that I knew I needed to accomplish. My mom graduated from USC when I was only six years old and her continued career success only further inspired me.
Throughout high school I was involved with several clubs and studied very hard to make sure I would get into the UNL. When I got accepted, it was one of the happiest days of my life! I was definitely a little bit nervous to move away from home but once I got there I met so many amazing people which made my transition so much easier. I was also lucky enough to get several scholarships through UNL and the Miss America organization by competing in local pageants.
What was the hardest part of chasing your dream and how did you overcome it? The hardest part of chasing my dream and earning my degree was being diagnosed with late staged cancer during my junior year of college. Everything was put on hold and I missed three semesters of school while I went through intense chemotherapy treatment. It was a scary time because my future seemed so uncertain.
During treatment, my number one goal was not to graduate it was simply to regain my health! During my time in the hospital I prayed constantly to God. I held a small angel figurine in my hand through the longest and toughest of nights. After months of treatment, with an amazing family and great boyfriend (of five years) by my side, I was lucky enough to be pronounced cancer free.I thank God everyday for a second chance at life and a new direction.
Once I regained my health, I desperately tried to return to school! I enrolled in classes before I was truly ready. On the first day, I put on my wig and drove 45 minutes from my parents house and tried to stay on campus for nine hours. I came home really exhausted and despite really wanting to go back, I had to drop out of classes and wait until my body had completely recovered.
These few months of waiting were really difficult because I was finally feeling better but still missing out on being with friends and just being a normal college girl. It was also during this time that I discovered that I had a unique opportunity to give back to others.
I wanted to help other young adults and kids who were diagnosed with cancer so I started volunteering for the hospital that treated me in the pediatric and oncology departments. I desperately wanted to make a difference and show others that there was life after cancer.
Once I was fully recovered, I reenrolled in classes at UNL and began to prepare for graduation. I took on 5 internships during my last year and a half in college and finally in May of 2013, I earned my Bachelor’s degree and was named a 2013 UNL Featured Graduate for my accomplishments!
What are your dreams for the future? I am so excited for the future and to begin my career in Charlotte! My dreams for the future include finding a job that I love and maybe one day starting a non-profit organization to help young adults with cancer. I am also thinking of possibly competing in a Miss America Organization local pageant in North Carolina!
For me, one of the hardest parts of recovering from cancer was a changed appearance and having to deal with being bald. I lost so much of my confidence during my battle with cancer so I would love to talk to other kids and young adults fighting the disease and help them feel good about themselves!
What is one piece of advice for girls who are about to start chasing their dreams? I think it’s important to remember when you are chasing your dreams that there will be setbacks. Mine was cancer, for others it might be not getting into the college of their dreams. I think there is so much to be learned from the challenges we face and sometimes they make us into better people. I believe that achieving any dream is possible with positivity, prayer and persistence!
So that is Christen’s Dream Chaser story. It really puts our every-day struggles into perspective. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us, Christen!
Do you have a Dream Chaser story? Tell me about it in the comment section below!