The trajectory of Meghan Green’s life changed on Oct. 5, 2015.
A University of St. Thomas junior at the time, studying neuroscience, Green had a stroke caused by medication while lifting weights in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. She was rushed to Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Green spent the next 100 days between the hospital and rehab.
“I had to relearn how to walk, dress myself, talk, read, count money, do laundry … literally everything,” Green said.
During her recovery period, the Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, resident experienced firsthand the caring and compassion of the St. Thomas community.
“The seminarian students visited me that night in the intensive care unit and were praying for me,” Green said. “A ton of students whom I didn’t know I impacted stopped by as well (over the next weeks).”
Due to the effects from the stroke, Green knew that majoring in neuroscience no longer was feasible. She decided to switch to social work.
“Sadly, I had a bad experience with the social worker in the hospital. That made me want to go into social work to be better,” Green said. “There wasn’t the compassion for someone who had a stroke at 23 years old and had her whole life uprooted.”
After leaving the hospital and rehab, she completed an associate degree at North Hennepin Community College. She subsequently returned to St. Thomas and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2022.
Now she’s pursuing a master’s degree at St. Thomas in leadership in student affairs, inspired by her mentor, Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Lange.
Lange had connected with the graduate student’s mom, Charity, in the hospital.
“Any time that I go to the Anderson Student Center, I stop by (Lange’s) office,” Green said. “She made a wonderful impact on my life and said that she will do anything that she can in her power to make sure I succeed. That made me feel at home at St. Thomas, knowing that there’s a whole community behind me.”
In addition to her studies, Green works as an exam coordinator in Disability Resources. In this role, she oversees the student requests related to exams, keeping track of timing, resources and accommodations. She used Disability Resources herself upon her return to St. Thomas.
“Disability Resources and their accommodations helped me during undergrad and continues to help me in grad school,” Green said. “I want to meet students where they are at regarding their needs with compassion.”
She hopes to eventually go into the field of disability services in a university student affairs department while incorporating her social work degree.
“They stood by me during my weakest time,” Green said.
Her life outside of St. Thomas includes a return to lifting weights; Green can regularly be found at the LA Fitness in Brooklyn Park. She also is actively involved at The Church In Brooklyn Park and enjoys watching lacrosse and football. (“I like the Vikings even though they disappoint me,” she sighed.)
Of all the challenges that Green has had to overcome, from slurred speech to reading comprehension issues, the most difficult one was relearning how to drive.
Green even is relearning how to play the violin, which she played in junior high and high school. She now uses a violin that Schmitt Music adapted for her.
“Regardless of life’s ups and downs, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Green said. “Even through the stroke, I’ve found that there are many blessings.”