The Things People Don’t Ask Me

The Auto-Biography of Raven Quander

Raven Quander

(My first picture before going home from the hospital)

Never did I think in my 20 years of living that I would be a sophomore at Delaware State University, a year ahead of my grade level in credits. 

I have conflicting views on the concept of life in general. I believe that it is fully of heartbreaks, pain, suffering and anything else terrible a person could possibly think of. There are some challenges that I just don’t think I am built or equipped enough to handle However, I also know that through all of that there is beauty and kindness that shines through.

I was born on June 2, 2002 with two young parents totally prepared to raise a child— two in my biological mother’s case. From the time that I was only a few months old, I was raised by my adoptive mom, who also happened to be my paternal grandmother. 

(An article that featured me when I was five from The Gazette newspaper)

She raised me as strict Catholic and taught me to live a pretty conservative lifestyle. While she did her best, it did not help my confidence or social experiences to develop. My mom is the only role model I could imagine having. She has sacrificed so much for me, like retiring three years early and putting me through 14 years of private education while retired. She gives me all I could possibly ask for and more just because she wants to set me up for the best opportunities for success available to me.

My mom has had me in Tae Kwon Do since I was three, almost four, years old. Being a black belt herself, she always wanted to make sure that I knew how to protect myself, whether she was around or not. Doing Karate taught me discipline and maturity from a young age, which helped me to not only adapt in professional environments, but to also grow a love for teaching. I was able to achieve my black belt when I was 11, and now I teach it to kids in summer camp every summer.

(My mother and I before Christmas Eve mass)

I was sent to both a catholic Pre-K through eight grade school and high school, which both had strict rules and pushed me further into isolation. For the majority my life, I was going to Catholic mass every single week, sometimes multiple times depending on if my school also held a mass that week. I would alter serve every time I went, which made it worse. I was caught in the continuous cycle of go to school, pray, go to mass, learn about God, come home, pray, go to church, pray, go to Youth Group, and pray some more. It honestly became exhausting.

(The day of my high school graduation in the midst of Covid-19)

There’s nothing wrong with living a life completely dedicated to God, but I felt like I had no life outside of religion or the church. Now, I have taken a step back from that lifestyle by attending a non-Catholic or religion affiliated college, limiting the times I go to church, and praying because I want to not because I’m told to. With my new realizations, I would classify myself as more spiritual than I would religious.

Neither one of my parents was academically driven or super involved in their school community. I have been able to be valedictorian, be in a leadership position in multiple clubs or organizations, and be an honors student. Just by applying to college, I have been able to accomplish more than what a lot of people expected me to do.

Honestly, I’m not sure where I see myself in five years, but I do know that I want to be financially stable, working in the career field of my choice, and I will be happy. I want to try out the world of acting, because I’m passionate about the world of performing and entertainment. My purpose is to make people happy, whether that be through writing a book or article that makes them smile, or starring in their favorite comedy show sometime in the future. I know that I  was made to do many great things.

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