Living in Las Vegas, Mace never knew when she would get a job and start up a better life.
Melissa Mace, a junior studying psychology, is 32 years old and has survived abuse, PTSD, fibromyalgia and homelessness. In the future, she hopes to serve the people in the Middle East.
Mace’s mother is from Syria, and according to Mace, has a form of bipolar disorder due to a traumatic background. Mace was abused by her mother for 20 years before she tried to go to college.
Post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses became such a burden on Mace that she couldn’t handle school.
“I’ve had four different experiences where that happened,” Mace said. “I really wanted to come to school, but I was just so ill I couldn’t do it.”
Eventually, Mace’s home life became dangerous, and she didn’t have a place to go.
“I prayed over a map and the Spirit said ‘Las Vegas,’ “Mace said. “My dad gave me $80, and I realized when I got to Las Vegas, that’s as far as my money would go.”
Mace lived in her car and crashed on friends’ couches for six months.
“I was eating a piece of bread a day and was always dehydrated,” Mace said.
Mace’s bishop worked at a pawn shop and offered her a cashier position. That pawnshop was the pawnshop from the TV show, “Pawn Stars.” She worked there for six years, but struggled constantly with fibromyalgia.
“My fibromyalgia was so bad I remember being at work, and I could barely walk, and my arms wouldn’t work,” Mace said. “I would go to the bathroom and pray to help move my arms, and I would be okay for the rest of the day.”
After recovery, Mace had a prompting to come back to school after viewing a documentary about the Middle East.
“I felt like even though I had plans to buy a home and travel, I needed to quit my job and come back to school,” she said.
Mace hopes to work in the Middle East and assist individuals there.
Mace didn’t expect to be back in college, but she knows there’s a reason for everything.
“Being back in college has been hard for me, and that’s not just because it’s been cold outside,” Mace said. “I know I’m supposed to be here. The skills that I have learned from my trials in life have helped me in my schooling and have helped me become less arrogant and more open. I think it’s important for others to know that things get better and I want them to know that life won’t always be so bad.”