Finding Hope at Clover Creek

Document created by chloec on Nov 15, 2015Last modified by amara.mastronardi@socialedgeconsulting.com on Dec 5, 2016
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At one point I was the top chemistry undergraduate research student at my university. I loved my subject, I loved learning, and I felt safe with the promise of a bright future wrapped around me. In the Spring of 2010 I was set to perform summer research as one of two undergraduates selected. This would not happen as planned however. Life, as it so often does, went in a completely different direction.

Rewinding the clock about seven years, from the moment I started having a period, it has been irregular; sometimes once every four months and sometimes three times in one month. I had no idea that this problem was linked to a condition that when left untreated would snowball into a roadblock to my future. Over the Summer of 2010, I started to struggle with depression, aches of unknown origin, and spurts of spastic back pain which was almost crippling. I would later find out that the intermittent pain was caused by cysts bursting and free floating blood in my body cavity. At the time however, it was horrifying. I also started to develop a difficulty concentrating or even getting out of bed. During this time I would be treated for attention deficit, depression, and over the course of the next two years assigned labels ranging from Bipolar Disorder to Cyclothymia. From 2010 to 2012 my grades suffered and I slipped into an actual depression because it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't recover the woman I once was. It seemed so unfair that I should lose everything and be so powerless to stop it. In 2012, I finally was able to see an endocrinologist who explained that lab results indicated a heightened level of testosterone which was leading to almost all of my symptoms. I began taking medication to reduce this and over the next two years saw some recovery of my original self. In 2014, I was the manager of a group home, taking one year off of school because my bills and commitments had accumulated during the time I was untreated and now eclipsed my ability to go to school. In August of that year, I contracted a stomach virus of unknown identity which made it to where I could not eat without throwing up, had severe bowel discomfort and flu-like symptoms for months. My health was waning once again and I was left with no choice but to return home to Virginia where my parents would be able to offer shelter and support.

 

This brings me to my financial success story. I was able to receive the medical care I needed with my parents, and after hormone replacement therapy and an altered diet for my newly diagnosed irritable bowel disease, I was looking towards a fresh start. With looming medical bills, school charges, and credit card debt, there seemed to be an insurmountable mountain before me of financial obligations to meet before I could even consider going back to school. I lived forty minutes away from civilization on a mountain top with no car other than the vehicles my parents used to go to work. Even if I had a car, the cost of gas would negate any money made from a part time job in town. Feeling trapped in a situation and determined to find a solution I finally found my financial salvation in an online start up. There is a creek behind our house that our family has named Clover Creek because of my father's proud Irish heritage and a touch of genetic silliness.One day I was helping my mother to clean out the basement when I realized that a lot of the things she wanted to get rid of were of significant value. Antiques, collectibles, and just general quality merchandise were available among the trash bags of "donatables". I had read an article earlier that same day about how many were earning a living using online businesses and that it was especially popular with rural communities. This knowledge, coupled with my available supply and a touch of determination combined to create the beginnings of my own online business. As I looked out over Clover Creek, the name Clover Creek Cache came to mind and stuck. Thus, Clover Creek Cache was born.

 

Things started out slow at first. I had to clumsily stumble through the process of payment arrangement, listing items, and balancing fees with gains. The post office itself was a financial challenge with a multitude of shipping options and punishing weight charges. Eventually though, I was able to push my little business into a profitable affair. I sought smaller items to cut shipping costs, learned the ins and outs of advertisement and sales, and created a machine which was eating up my financial obligations one at a time. Soon, I was searching out yard sales, antique malls, and church basements for more unique items to refurbish and resell. I used my capitol to increase stock and over the course of nine months I was able to not only pay off much of my outstanding debt, but also pay for applications to return to school, a down payment on a used car (which I have since paid off) and books.

 

I have not tried to maintain my business during school because of the time commitment required. The business supplied the means for a brighter future and also provided me with more in-depth knowledge of my finances. It is said that often our negative experiences can be turned into positive experiences if we chose to see the good. I look back at everything now that has happened and I know that I wouldn't have it any other way.

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