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Bayli Quick is soft spoken as she sits on the couch in The Current Sauce office. She has just gotten off from working in the Narcotics Division at the Natchitoches Sherriff’s station and looks tired.
“Initially, I wanted to be a biology major, and I was for the first two years and then I changed to criminal justice,” Quick said. “It was a big change but I’m really happy I did that because it’s closer to what I really want to do.”
Bayli has worked in the sheriff’s department since July 2019. She handles all the narcotic evidence for the city and the parish.
“Anything the police department and the sheriff’s office sieze, it comes to me and I prepare it for the crime lab which is a very vital part for all court cases in Natchitoches,” She said. “So doing that and being a full-time student is kind of hard, but I really want to stay in this position after I graduate but right now, I’m just part time.”
Quick hopes that after she graduates in December she will work full time for the sheriff’s department.
“It’s really interesting because I’ve never heard of someone in college working with narcotics because it’s so serious and I’m just really thankful for the opportunity,” Quick said.
Quick says that she has learned a lot from working and many of her past courses have helped her with the job.
“I’m in a narcotics class right now but it helps me identify drugs and side effects and symptoms of someone taking those drugs. It’s taught me a lot,” Quick said.
When Quick was a biology major her concentration was forensic science, but she had trouble getting into the forensics labs. She couldn’t get the hang of chemistry either.
“In criminal justice I can read more about court cases and stuff and I can memorize it and see it whereas in biology, it just wouldn’t click,” She said.
Bayli is not afraid to post about her mental health on social media. A year ago, she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
“When the pandemic hit, I was at home all the time and that’s not the type of person I am,” Quick said.
Bayli has numerous posts on her social medias where she has posed with band members, attended concerts with friends and traveled.
“That’s all I really do outside of school and work and I was just sitting at home I just couldn’t get a grip on reality,” Quick said.
Quick went to the doctor and was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. She said that is when she realized this was something she has been experiencing all her life.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age.
“Any little thing that would happen in my life I would just break down. Like if I couldn’t get an assignment turned in on time, it would push me back a week,” Quick said.
Last May, Quick posted a picture of herself on Facebook where she was in her room. The bed was unmade and there were clothes all over the top of her bed and on the floor. In the post, she describes the “behind the scenes” of her success where she admitted that there were nights she stayed up crying and that she was always trying to meet everyone else’s expectations.
“But what you didn’t see is the endless nights sitting in my room crying wishing I was doing something else in life. But I was too afraid,” the Facebook post reads. “I don’t regret any of it because it was the best time of my life, but I often wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t focus on what other people thought of me.”
The deeply emotional post received over 400 likes and over 100 comments. It shows a vulnerability in Quick that went out for the public to see. Quick said that she just wanted people to know that this was what she was going through and it’s okay to talk about it.
“I was keeping it bottled in and I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had anxiety because all my life, I’ve had people and seen people who’ve had depression or something crazy and it’s not like that,” She said.
“I think putting it out there and talking about it makes other people more comfortable and I just wanted to get it off my chest because I wasn’t ashamed of it. We all have problems and sometimes it just needs to be talked about because if you bottle it in it will get worse,” She continued.
Quick said that in school, she had anxiety attacks, but her school was small, so people thought she was putting on a show.
“If we would go to the auditorium for a day or a new place I would just break down. Anything that was out of my daily routine, it was just- I couldn’t do it,” Quick said. “I guess I never realized that it wasn’t normal.”
Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.
Bayli lives 20 to 30 minutes away from Natchitoches and is an online student. The switch to go online was heavily decided on to have more time at home to care for her dad.
“My dad has Parkinson’s. He’s had it for 10 years and it’s just me and my mom there to take care of him so being online I can stay home, help with him and still work,” She said. “I don’t have to worry about coming to campus every day and taking a class.“
She said that sometimes online classes get difficult because one must have a lot of discipline to just sit and work, something that she can’t do a lot because of work and taking care of her dad.
“I’m a first-generation college student so I wanted the normal college experience. I wanted to live in the dorms, join all the organizations I could, and you know hang out with my friends,” Quick said.
Quick said when she first started college, her dad wasn’t that sick so she thought that next year she could come back.
“Well then that time got here and now I need to stay home. My mom had to work because my dad retired my freshman year of high school,” She said. “It just got to the point where he wasn’t getting any better so I had to help my mom because I would have felt so selfish if I moved here and I wasn’t there to help her all the time.”
Quick said that even if all she does is go to pick up her dad’s medicine or cook for him in the evenings while her mom works, she’s helping her in some aspect.
“I can’t take him to all his doctor’s appointments and things like that, but I try to do whatever I can whenever I can to help,” She said. “I think it helps my mom just to have someone there in case she can’t do something and there have been times where it was just me and him there and I thought I would have to call an ambulance because he was falling, and I couldn’t pick him up.”
“It gets really difficult, and I knew he couldn’t be alone all the time. He’s fine on his own but it just makes me feel better if I’m there,” She said. “It just gives me a better feeling that I’ve gone online, and my time is more flexible. It was a really hard decision because all I wanted was a normal college experience.”
Quick went online before the pandemic so when NSU went virtual last March, she was already set.
“I didn’t have to worry,” She said.
Quick’s favorite class has been Sociology 1010 with Dr. Mark Melder.
“That class taught me so many things about society that I never thought of. But the semester before that, I took philosophy and that made my brain turn on a three sixty when I took that class and it taught me so many things about our thought process and how we view the world,” She said.
When Bayli took sociology, she said she started to think about society and her place in it.
“That class basically taught me that everyone has a part in society no matter your background, your race, your gender,” She said.
Quick stated that when she first started in college she wanted to do everything from joining a sorority to Student Government Association
“But now I just don’t have the patience or time to do any of those things,” Quick said. “And even if I wanted to but I couldn’t. I barely have time to take care of myself.”
Quick said that since she has become a criminal justice major, the best part about NSU has been her professors.
“My advisor, Bill Shaw, has really motivated me into staying with criminal justice. He is probably the reason I’m still here because when I changed over, I was so close to dropping out I could taste it just because I didn’t feel like I was strong enough,” Quick said. “I had also flunked chemistry and anatomy and all these classes so I changed to criminal justice, met him and I’m less stressed so definitely my professors that keep me motivated when I need it.
Quick said that they know she goes through a lot and can’t meet every deadline and it makes her happy that they help her.
Quick wants to eventually work for the FBI and become an instructor in criminal justice.
“I just can’t believe that I got to this point,” She said. “It’s crazy to think about.”