Bringing The Vision To Life (by Katie D’Alexander)

By Lifebook Member Katie D’Alexander

My cousin gifted me with the opportunity to attend Lifebook in June 2009, soon after I decided to leave a career in public relations and marketing.  I had no career direction, I was single and I had recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure (at the ripe old age of 25).  I found myself depleting my savings account and living with two roommates: my parents.  So needless to say, Lifebook could not have come at a better time for me.

My experience with Lifebook was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. I was apprehensive at first, wondering if I would be comfortable enough to share my stories and hopes for the future with others (not to mention admitting them to myself). I dove in head first, figuring I had nothing to lose, and allowed Lifebook change my life.

I had breakthroughs in almost every category. I couldn’t find a reason why I needed to be the size I was, why I couldn’t fall in love, why I had to hang out with people whose idea of fun was dropping hundreds of dollars on alcohol each night…  But my major breakthroughs definitely occurred during the Career and Life Vision categories, with much help from my fellow group members.

From as young as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor (a pediatrician to be exact), and my interest in health care has never gone away.  I even considered switching majors in college, but figure it was too late for me.

When I started thinking about this more intently and voicing my interests while attending Lifebook, one group member kept saying, “Well why not?” I would reply with things like, “Well, it would take a lot of research,” or “I would have to take out loans,” or “I would have to take pre-requisite classes…”  It would be a lot of work…” And they continued asking, “Well why not?”  I immediately realized that I was simply being lazy, and of course, that he was right. I could do it.

I wanted to help people. So I decided to become a nurse and provide the best possible care to as many individuals as I could.

A few days after my Lifebook Session, I was ready to take on this endeavor. I fell in love with the program at Rush University, pushed myself harder than I ever had before, and worked non-stop for the next year and a half to ensure my admission. I will graduate with a Master’s of Science in Nursing in September 2012.

As I continue to move forward, I constantly look for opportunities to further fulfill my Life Vision of helping others, both locally and globally. I am traveling to Belize with eight other students and four faculty at the end of the year to build a house for an impoverished family and teach health education classes to women and their children, and am also researching volunteer trips to Africa where I can work in a medical clinic.

I am so proud of myself for sticking with Lifebook and making this all happen. As I have become more comfortable with my own plans for the future, and truly begun living my life with intention, amazingly enough the other pieces of my life began to fall into place.

I spent the better part of 2010 training for and completing the Chicago Half Marathon – an amazing feat considering that during my Lifebook Session I couldn’t have run one single mile.

I opened my heart to the possibility of love, and have been in a relationship for the last year with someone so amazing that sometimes I think I may be dreaming.

I have strengthened friendships that are most important to me, and have let those friends who were going down a much different path continue on their own.

I am more confident with the life I am leading now than I ever thought possible. Lifebook has given this to me, and it is my sincerest hope that others find as much joy and passion for their own lives as I have though this absolutely wonderful experience.

-Katie D’Alexander

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