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One of the most important things in my life is my family. I come from a fairly large family consisting of four siblings and a brother- and sister-in-law. My family has always been there whenever I needed them even though we fight with each other. Family might not always refer to the people who are related to you by blood, because anyone can become like a family member to you if you so choose. While here at NMH, I have made some friends that are like my own little family, and,like family, you can always find someone who is mad at the other.

I have been through a lot in my life, and have worked hard to be where I am today; those people closest to me, my family, can attest to that. I consider these people my family. There may be people in this chapel who are like family to you — they are there for you during hard times, support you when you need it, and help you become your best self.

I think it's safe to say that we as a community have experienced difficult times at NMH. Earlier this fall, complications with my medicine caused havoc in my life. These complications hindered me in class, and academically I suffered. It caused me to be short-tempered; it caused me to be disoriented and unhappy. I withdrew from the people closest to me. Neither my family of origin nor my NMH family knew about my struggles, or if they did, they only knew some of it. I tried to deal with it by myself, but that just made things worse for me in the long run.

As all of you know, or will know, your senior fall grades are very important for college admission. I kept denying that I needed help, which only made things worse. It caused me to be more frustrated with myself. After some time, I sought out help from staff, who helped me start to get a handle on things, and I am still working with them to try and prepare myself for university. During the toughest time I was able to find comfort in a group of friends who helped me deal with this without them even knowing. It meant a lot to me to see my friends every day, and I do not know where I would be right now without them.

At NMH we are fortunate enough to have a large family that extends over many years. I challenge all of you to find your family here at NMH. They may be your peers, they may be your teachers, your coaches, or your dorm parents. Also take the opportunity to be a family member to others. Be there for someone else whose family is far away. Support them and give them strength. Be there to listen to them work through their struggles.

And even more important, don’t forget your family at home. After this meeting, I encourage you to thank your family for the support they give you at NMH. I stand here in front of you today because my family challenged and supported me to share my thoughts with you today.

Thank you.

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