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I was brought up in a household in which karma was a strongly stressed idea – not so much in the spiritual sense, but more in the sense of how you treat people.

There is constantly a voice in my head telling me to treat people how I would like to be treated. So I do. I treat people with kindness and respect as if they are my own family member. What goes around really does come around. Of course everyone experiences their ups and downs in life, but everything truly does happen for a reason.

I am entering my third year at Northeastern University. It has been nearly nine months since I have been in school. Was it part of my plan to miss out on an entire semester? Not at all. Was it the best thing that has ever happened to me so far in my life? Absolutely.

Since I was little, I have always felt different. I could never put my finger on what it was, but I never quite felt like I fit in with the rest of the world. Those feelings got worse over the years. Why couldn’t I just be like everybody else? In my senior year of high school, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which is extremely common. I felt a lot better putting a label on why I felt so different. That wasn’t the entire answer though.

I went through a year and a half of college, and things started going downhill. I was in the business school, convinced I was going to magically graduate as a businesswoman walking around in a suit with a briefcase. At around the same time, I entered into my first relationship. In the fall of 2012, I suddenly felt like I was stuck at the bottom of an endless ladder, as if there was no point in my trying in life anymore.

I experienced a crisis. My relationship ended, my major at school was not pleasing me, and I had never felt so alone in my life. I questioned life so often that I thought about ending mine a few too many times. I chose to take a leave of absence from school for the spring 2013 semester.

The first couple of weeks that I was home, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Then my entire life changed, and it all started with one penny.

I always find pennies and feel obligated to pick them up. I feel like someone is leaving them for me, trying to tell me they’re watching out for me. I put a cup in my room to collect them and it filled faster than you can say boo.

I decided to take a penny I had found and make a bracelet out of it. My friends came over that night and were obsessing over it, so, I made some more. Then in the middle of the night, I had an epiphany. It was nothing but a name, Heads Up For Charity. There was no plan, just some dreams.

Five hundred bracelets later, I have created what my Mom refers to as a monster. My company has taken off. A portion of the proceeds from every product sold goes to charity. While I am changing my life, I also am changing the lives of those around me. I am returning to school to get a degree, but the void of the uncertainty is now filled. I can proudly say I am different. I can proudly say I am the founder of Heads Up For Charity. And I can proudly say it’s all because of a crisis and one penny.