By Glen Burua

The first time I quit school was after my grade eight. Living at home and being the subject of criticism was not easy at all.

So many young people go through similar cases.

In the quest to find meaning to my life, I resorted to drugs to help me forget my problems. Little did I know at that time that drugs only provide temporary solutions to the problems I was facing.

When the going gets tough, many young people feel hopeless and resort to drugs and alcohol.

I wanted to be free but as I continued to resort to the temporary solutions, I got addicted to it. In addition to the pain, I faced a lot of abuse.

Many young people, especially girls, go through the same.

I battle with suicidal thoughts almost every day. I wanted to quit fighting.

Sadly, many young people quit and never live up to their full potential.

I often stayed up at night crying and begging God to help me find a way out.

This is the story of Annie Bird .

Despite the challenges she was going through, God made a way for her to go back to school. Her educational journey never seemed to have a promising end as she often faced a lot of problems which led to having depression.

How did you manage to pull through? I asked her.

It is because I decided to let go of my past no matter how painful it was and forgive those who wronged me.

What is your advice to others with similar situations? I asked again.

Though it is a painful road, only you can change your circumstances around. I always believed that if people like Maya Angelo and Oprah Winfrey can become successful despite going through an abusive and painful childhood, then anyone can.

My favourite Bible Verse is Romans 12:12 which says. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

This year, Annie graduated from Divine Word University with a degree in PNG studies and International Relations.

Before her graduation, she got employed with Bank South Pacific (BSP) on their graduate trainee program.

Never lose hope even in the midst of pain because God is still in control.

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