An ATC Success Story: Mac
Written by At The Crossroads,
in Section Parent Resources
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
–Thomas J. Watson
This quote rings quite true when one contemplates the idea of success. Often times our eventual successes come with a bit of struggle and a lot of hard work. People who are truly successful in life are those who are unafraid to reach out for additional support when needed, they are those people who are open to utilizing any and all resources available to them.
This bring us to our friend Mac, a recent graduate of At The Crossroads. Mac is an young man who exemplifies the concepts of hard work, determination, passion and a little extra support paying off in his long-term achievements. He agreed to sit down with us for an interview to answer some questions about his experiences in a young adult transitional program.
What brought you to ATC, Mac?
Mac: I came to ATC to try and set myself up for success in the near future. I was one of the oldest clients at ATC but that didn’t bother me. It took me a while to really start acting my age but I got the hang of it in my last 6 months of the program.
Had you been to any other programs prior to ATC?
Mac: No, I had not.
How did you feel about enrolling prior to arrival? What emotions were you experiencing?
Mac: It was definitely emotional to leave home and be in such an unfamiliar place for so long. I was fortunate enough to have visits with my family both home in Canada and in St. George.
How did you feel while acclimating during your initial time at ATC?
Mac: Acclimating to Utah was definitely strange and difficult for the first six months in the program. Once I accepted that I was at ATC for a reason and wanted to move on with my life that’s when a lot of things started to come together. The first little bit is hard and it will be for anyone leaving home. The staff at ATC do such a tremendous job of looking after the students as they settle in and that definitely makes things easier.
What did your goals look like when enrolling at ATC? Did you know at the time?
Mac: To be honest, my goals were pretty simple. I wanted to experience and deal with emotions rather than avoiding or numbing them. I wanted to move on the next phase in my life and feel good about where I’m going with my life. I just wanted to rediscover all the good things about life because I’ve difficulty with that in the past. Getting to a place where I can accept that an unsuccessful past is okay and what’s important is the “now.” Previously that was definitely very difficult for me. That was always half the battle growing up. I never felt like I was capable of success. Now I’m going to school for radio broadcasting, coming off two jobs I held while at ATC with letters of recommendation and connections for life.
What life skills did you learn at ATC that you have found to be most important and why?
Mac: I learned a lot of life skills for sure while at ATC. One which I take with me every day is embracing challenges. Once you really decide you’re going to do something and nothing in life is ever easy you just go for it. For a lot of people, that’s a difficult thing to do. My therapists and Brian Virgin encouraged me to continue to challenge myself with various aspects of life. Dress better, look better, work harder, find your path, carve out your own life. It was a gradual process but I’m at the point now where I’m pretty much completely self sufficient and that’s very exciting for me. Most of my life I’ve been the farthest thing from that and not necessarily challenging myself all the time or shying away from challenges with a fear of failure.
Where did you work while at ATC? What was this experience like? Do you feel these experiences have impacted your story and where you are now?
Mac: I worked two internships while at ATC. One with the local radio station and the other with Dixie State University. Brian reached out to his connections because I had expressed to him that I did not want an ordinary job. I wanted something in my field of interest so I could actually enjoy what I do while getting experiences I could utilize down the road. Brian introduced me to Devin and I began working at the radio station. I also met Lance at Dixie State University and began working on projects with him as well. Early on the work was difficult for me because I was still overcome with emotions about being away from home and difficult feelings from my past and childhood. However, I worked really hard to get to a place where I can feel good about myself in any situation no matter how difficult it is. My radio voice has helped with my public speaking and confidence. I even co-hosted the radio show I work on several times at the end of my stay in St. George. I also represented ATC at various events, including parent weekends, visits to wilderness programs and what not. That’s a pretty cool feeling for me to be able to share my story and my successes with others who are at a point in their life where they want to make changes for the better.
Can you share a little insight into what your time at ATC looked like?
Mac: I began my stay at ATC in program housing. My first six months were difficult for both myself and my family. I always had good intentions but getting to a place emotionally where I felt good enough about myself was the real challenge. The staff was always great with me, whether it be Tina at the office, my colleagues or anyone else from ATC. What I felt was a genuine sense of support around me at ATC. Sure, they’re difficult to deal with sometimes and you don’t always like what they say but most of the time they know what’s best for you and definitely provided guidance for me. I became friends with many of them not just because I was in the program but rather because I got to know them outside of ATC as real people.
How did you prepare to transition out of ATC into complete independence? What was that like for you?
Mac: For the last six months I became much more independent and eventually moved into my own place in March. I stress that it was a very gradual process but I worked extremely hard with everything, including therapy, work and my life overall. I formed a close relationship with Brian and we would meet every week to talk. The combination of Brian, the support of Jennie and Krysti plus the others around me seeing how much I was trying to really create my own path was huge for me. I decided that a career in radio was what I wanted and I applied to some of the best schools in Canada for radio broadcasting. I got into the college of my choice and left ATC in the second week of August. Leaving was difficult because I made many friends and connections in St. George. I felt like I was leaving my second family behind honestly. I plan on coming back to see everyone when I have some time in the next year or two. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to get to work on myself at ATC. It really was a life changer for me. I’d like to thank Brian, my therapists and all of the other people I met for making my stay memorable and encouraging me to pursue my dreams.