Technology + Education + New Media
Sitting here waiting for grades to post, and anxious to see how I did for the semester. I started to think about the semester and all of the wonderful opportunities that came my way. I feel so blessed to be the recipient of three amazing scholarships. The TN Lottery Hope Scholarship, Motlow Honor’s Scholarship, and the Ambassadorship to study abroad. I am amazed at all of the support and encouragement I have received in my quest for an education. I want to share my experience with everyone that I meet, and show them the possibilities. I am particularly interested in sharing my experiences with other women so that they can see that they can go to college if they really want to. It does require some sacrifice, but it is worth it.
When I talk about college with other women I often hear the same things. They tell me that they cannot go to college because they have small children at home, they have to work, they have been out of school for too long, or they cannot afford it. These are all legitimate concerns, the same ones that I faced when I started looking at the possibility of going to college.
I have five children ages 21, 17, 11, 5, and 3 years old. It is a challenge to attend college when you have little ones at home. You have to work out child care for the children. It can be tricky with schedules and costs, but it can be done. It may require you to juggle schedules, ask for help from friends and family, or seek financial assistance to help cover child care costs. It won’t be easy, there will be sacrifices, but it can be done. You will also have to learn how to delegate responsibilities at home, and not be afraid to find a quiet space just for yourself that you can go to when you have to study or do homework.
I am currently unemployed after a recent move, but plan to go back to work full time. I was working full time during my first two semesters of college. I was doing College Express classes at the time, which is wonderful for working adults. If you take those classes you will go to class one or two days a week, in the evening, for around four hours. Most working adults opt for these types of classes, but the class choices may be limited. I am taking traditional classes now. It is a lot more difficult to take these types of classes while working; however I had no choice because the classes that I need for my major are not offered in the evening. It takes a bit of juggling to get the classes you need scheduled around your work, but it can be done. I have also discovered that my experiences are much richer in the traditional environment. I feel like I am really a part of the university rather than a visitor.
I am 40 years old. I got my GED when I was 38 and started college at 39. I had been out of school for 20 plus years. I scored higher on the GED than some of the recent high school drop outs. You may be required to take a few remedial classes in college to bring you up to college level, but that is nothing to be embarrassed about, and you can do it.
A big concern for most people is how to pay for college. There are so many opportunities out there for anyone interested in attending college. It does take some work to fill out applications and get everything you need to send in to apply for these things, but it is well worth the effort. If you are low income you will most likely qualify for Federal Assistance. The application process for FAFSA can be a bit daunting at first, but college recruiters and advisors are more than happy to help you with this process. It really just requires a bit of time, a copy of your tax return, and other identification pieces such as your social security card. Even if you do not qualify for federal assistance there are a plethora of other options. There are scholarships available to fit almost any circumstance. If you are an adult student there are scholarships tailored specifically to you. If you are a minority, a woman, interested in a particular field, a spouse of a service member, or a new high school dropout there are scholarships available for you. I highly recommend you check into any that are available and take the time to apply. I know that you think you will never win one. I felt the same way, but they do choose winners. You have as good a chance as the next person if you apply. The first step is always the hardest. You have to apply to win. Do not let the application process, the writing of essays, or fear stop you from applying. Applying is half the battle. Apply and apply often.
I am a low income (under 20 grand a year) mother of five. I am a high school dropout, who works every day to eek out a meager living. It is all that I can do to keep a roof over our heads. I am constantly stressed about finances, schedules, work, and school. It is not easy to work, go to school, and take care of a family. I wouldn’t lie to you about that. It is hard, it is stressful, it is maddening at times, but it is worth it. I cannot begin to tell you how much getting an education has changed me. It has changed everything from how I handle challenges, to how I view the world. It has made me stronger, wiser, more determined, and given me a sense of self and a quiet confidence that I never had before. It is difficult, no way around that, but it will change your life for the better.
I am so grateful for the scholarships that I have received. If not for programs like FAFSA, the TN Lottery Hope Scholarship, Scholarships offered at my local institute and the ambassadorship from Motlow I would never be able to have all of the wonderful experiences that I have had to date, and the amazing opportunities to come. I really appreciate that there are people and organizations out there that are willing to take a chance on someone like me. I have been given a second chance, one that has changed me forever.
I don’t know that I will ever be able to repay the debt of gratitude that I feel, but if I can help others follow their dreams that would be a start. I will repay that debt through the skills and education that I obtain because of the generosity of those who support these scholarships. My ultimate goal is to get a law degree from Vanderbilt University. I would love to focus on International law and Human Rights in particular. My greatest desire is to touch the lives of as many as I can, and to make this world a better place.
If you are considering going to college and are questioning if it is worth it, or wondering how you are going to handle the stress, balance work,school,life, and pay for it. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I will help you in any way that I can. I can help you figure out solutions to those things or just be a cheerleader in your corner. I cannot promise you that it will be easy, it probably won’t. But, I can promise you it is worth it.
Update: Grades finally posted. I got a 4.0 for the semester. So happy!