You may not be able to choose your family, but you can certainly build your own village

Here are a few of our favorite take aways from Jennifer’s chat:

Get on a path. It doesn’t really matter which path you decide to hop on, so long as you get started down one. As we’ve all heard before, there is no straight path through life, so no matter how clear your plan may or may not be, a fork will inevitably appear (perhaps in the form of your future husband, sitting in a bar in Pennsylvania!). The important thing is to be open to the forks and curves. Being afraid of change can lead to problems well beyond unhappiness (think physical and mental health), so learn to accept life’s unexpected curve balls and be open to seeing where they could take you.

Follow your passion.  Even if it doesn’t fit into your plan. If you’re doing something you truly care about, you can’t help but give it your all. And when you do an amazing job at something, people will take note. You never know what doors might open – perhaps one that leads you right to your next mentor or even your next job.

It’s never too late to learn something new.  One of Jennifer’s biggest role models was her grandfather, an engineer who spent his retirement performing science experiments at nursing homes (a regular Bill Nye!). He was a life-long learner and a true believer that you can work through anything, and his philosophies left a lasting impression. Dr. Childs-Roshak went back to business school when she was 45, and while it put her outside her comfort zone on a daily basis, she walked away with a new set of skills that led her to her present position.

Speak up.  In the face of adversity, common sense may not always win out, but personal stories will. Share your path, share your thoughts and build your community. While our current situation may seem disheartening, Jennifer asked us to think of all of the faces and voices that have joined together to speak out and speak up. Changes are being made, and we have the chance to seize the momentum we’ve built so long as we keep expanding our communities and making our voices heard.

Want to stay connected? Follow Jennifer on Twitter @DrJenCR.
You can also check out Planned Parenthood for volunteer opportunities, ways to donate, and advocacy programs to join both across MA and nationwide.