Local Grad Speaks to Overcoming Struggles

Local Grad Speaks to Overcoming Struggles

A “heart-to-heart” conversation with her father helped Chippewa Valley Technical College graduate Olivia Harmer turn her life around. Now, newly confident in her abilities, she is ready to embark on a career after completing the Radiography program at CVTC, and since she has ties to various parts of the country, her horizons are virtually limitless.

Harmer delivered the student speaker’s address at CVTC’s virtual Spring Graduation Celebration Friday, May 21. She was one of 839 graduates in 72 programs honored and one of four Radiography graduates. The largest group of graduates was 100 in the Nursing-Associate Degree program, followed by 54 in Business Management ad 41 in Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement. Also honored were 12 students who completed their High School Equivalency Diploma since the previous graduation in December.

Harmer, 29, struggled for years, failing to meet expectations for herself due to struggles with mental
illness. Today, after changing her focus to an applied approach, she is doing much better.

Harmer switched her focus to CVTC and a degree in Radiography, following her father’s role in the
military. Different struggles came up in her life, though. Her mother, who lives 1,000 miles away
became ill and was in and out of the hospital. The stress from her mother’s illness and the pandemic
affected Harmer’s health, too.

“But I was able to manage my academics, take care of my mom, and somewhat take care of myself,”
she said. “Thankfully, I have a good support system. My program has four instructors who were by my
side supporting me from day one to graduation.”

Harmer says she copes with her anxiety disorder but can keep her life and her future in perspective.
“I try to give myself more grace and compassion than I normally would, for I have always been too hard
on myself,” she said. “I try to remember what is truly important to me in life and to not stress about the
little stuff.”

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