Crystal Griffiths “The people in the Center for Students with Disabilities kept me in school during the time when I probably would have quit.”

“I’m in the Scholars’ Program, and I’ve got a 4.0 going,” says Crystal Griffiths who’s studying anthropology. “So I feel like I’m working hard enough.” For years, Crystal worked in commercial banking, finally becoming a vice president. “But I really hated that experience,” she says. Fortunately, her years in banking ended. Unfortunately, her life nearly ended as well.

“A brain scan found a mass of irregular blood vessels, and it needed to come out. It was touch and go there for a while, and though it was a total success, it left me with a lot of impairment.” Crystal had to relearn how to walk and to deal with double vision, emotional, and cognitive problems. “Then my insurance company cut off my therapy,” she recalls of a desperate time. “And then I found my way to SMC and entered through the Brain Injury Program.” And Crystal’s ‘therapy’ quickly became education.

“I love this school, and I never felt more like I was in the right place in my life than I do now,” she says. “It wasn’t easy starting up again at 38 and with brain impairment, it took a lot of the fun out of it for a while. But we’ve got a great support group going that helps me deal with a lot of the anxiety I have. And it’s a very good feeling to be part of a group of people walking around campus, all fighting the same struggle.” Writing and anthropology are future plans for Crystal. “But with what I’ve been through comes a new perspective,” she says. “And whatever life brings next, I’ll just seize the day.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.