A University of Guam student will graduate thousands of miles away from UOG since she has to take care of her mother in Los Angeles.
Julianne Ballon had to leave for the city of Los Angeles, California with her family to help be a caregiver for her mother.
Her mother is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She was originally being treated at GRMC but had to continue her treatment on the mainland.
Ballon said she is thankful that she was able to graduate and still care for her mother simultaneously because of online classes and the support she received from others.
“Online classes, they are difficult to manage and also caregiving is another huge task on top of that. But I would just have to say that I’m truly blessed by God because of everything, he provided for us and also the support from my family and friends. They’ve really come to support us out here and so even my professors were very understanding. I just notified them that I am off-island and so it wasn’t a problem for them since everything was going to be online,” Ballon said.
According to Ballon, her experience made her stronger as a person and more motivated to finish university, majoring in the chemistry and biology field degree programs.
“I had to take a lot of STEM courses and although they were difficult, I still managed to just pull through them and complete my courses online and so far she’s (mom) doing well, she’s currently recovering from a transplant. It’s been a few months already but there still needs to be a lot more progress in terms of her recovery,” Ballon said.
As a student caregiver, Ballon wanted to highlight the support students like her need while they pursue their education.
“Especially as a college student or even a high school student on Guam, I noticed on Guam, a lot of times, we want to give back to our community and take care of our families. You know, they helped raise us so I just feel like shining a light on them and commending them for all their efforts is very inspiring. And also, hopefully, in the future, there will be more support systems or programs that can help student caregivers on Guam. That’s something I realized throughout this past semester,” Ballon said.
After getting her bachelor’s in Chemistry and Biology, Ballon plans to gain experience in the health care industry and apply to medical school.
Other than her family, she wants to acknowledge and thank her mentors at UOG and the Couples for Christ Community.