I was prepared for college when I got out of high school. I had already achieved 16 college credits before I even graduated. I have a 3.8 GPA average and a high SAT score. To save money, I went to a community college and stayed at home so I wouldn’t have the expenses of room and board (as well as the cost of a 4 year college). I worked full time at a local convenience store, making minimum wage and working 50 hours a week.
I fell in love about a year after I graduated from high school, and not long after got married. I dropped out of school because I was having difficulties fitting school into my life when I had to worry about bills, work, and part time jobs. We had to make ends meet. For five years, I lived my life as a normal wife, going to work, coming home, cleaning the house, spending time with the family, and during part of that time, leaving again to go to my second job. I finally got tired of living paycheck to paycheck. I needed to finish my degree.
I was undecided and nervous about going back to school. I didn’t want to complete the degree that I had already started to study. I found a career in computers that would make more money, have better job security, and was something that I was interested in. I went back to school. Because of the change in degree programs, a lot of my credit did not count. I was basically starting all over again.
I had to borrow money from my father as well as get student loans and grants to pay for my college courses and materials. I also had to rearrange my already tight budget to include the expenses for traveling to the college on a weekly or daily basis. I had to keep reminding myself that if I never reached my goal in education, that I was never going to get a better paying job and be stuck where I was, in low paying jobs that I didn’t enjoy, for the rest of my life. I wanted to be able to provide for my family and not have to worry about how I was going to pay for food or power.
It was even harder to go back to school. I still had the realities of everyday life that I did not have when I was fresh out of high school. I could relate to a lot of the classes because I had real world experience in working, but it was still hard to find time to study as much as I needed to. I had to pick and choose classes that I could fit into my work schedule, as well as make time for my family at home. That was two years ago. I just finished my associate degree and am going to be transferring to a four year college to finish my bachelor degree in the fall. It feels as if my education will never reach its goal, but I am determined to finish what I started.