Senior Stories: Bryan, Struggles to Champion

Bryan, a SRLA Class of 2018 Graduate from Locke High School, is excited to be attending the University of California Davis this fall. After feeling alone in a new place, Students Run LA helped him find happiness and comfort in a new place.

When I came to the United States in 2015 from Guatemala, I was facing new challenges that made it difficult for me to feel home. The idea of moving to a new country is scary. At first, I struggled with language barriers and educational barriers. I did not know English very well, which made it very difficult to communicate with people in school. I also did not feel home at all; I missed being in Guatemala, I missed my family and my friends.

These challenges had a notable impact in my mental health. After feeling alone without people to reach out to and feeling isolated from everyone else due to the difference in culture and language I could not help but feel sad all the time. I was diagnosed with depression and General Anxiety Disorder in 2016. For days and weeks I would walk home from school feeling nothing but sadness and loneliness. The pressure of excelling in my classes made me feel stressed out. My health was deteriorating slowly.

In 2017 I decided to join SRLA after I heard a teacher talk about it. I went to the meeting and I started practicing shortly after a couple of days. I had never been a very active person, so the idea of running a couple times a week was frightening. I enjoyed running, and I enjoyed meeting other students who were also motivated to run. These people encouraged me to run more and more each day. They pushed me and motivated me, they made me feel loved and capable of achieving great things.

The feeling you get when you start a race and when you cross the finish line is indescribable. I felt euphoric, enthusiastic, and… happy. During races I always felt as if I were free, my mind is clear, I feel relaxed knowing that I am not focusing on any problems, at the end of the race an invisible force pushes me forward and helps me cross the finish line with the very last bit of energy left. It is then when I feel like I am a champion.

Bryan is a 2018 SRLA Scholarship recipient. To make a donation to support future Students Run LA students like Bryan as they work towards their goals, click here.