Youth Profile in Action

Students in the pursuit of education beyond high school are faced with various situations and circumstances that often discourage them from attempting before they even begin. Tuition and other college expenses are the most challenging for most people. Regardless of whether its an in-state or out-of-state institution, there is still that question, for many students, from where is the money is going to come. Even though certain states like Georgia offer state grants, such as HOPE, there is still the remaining portion of school expenses that won't be covered by the grants. Common and useful advice is to apply for any scholarships available. A difficult thing that most students have when applying for scholarships is garnering the motivation to actually do it. Seeing the essay portions, and the numerous letters of recommendations makes it possible to be discouraged and not want to take the time to apply for these opportunities. Truthfully, all it takes is that one scholarship to change a student's outlook, and their whole financial situation in college.

Personally, being from a low-middle class family, I did not see how it was going to be possible for my parents, or anyone in my family to send me to college. The thing that was important for me was that I did not give up. Everybody has extenuating circumstances that seem to sometimes be the end of a dream that you once held high. I do know if you persevere and work hard, you will find a way to achieve the dreams and goals you have set for yourself.

I was born into a military family, and we attended church three to four times a week. That lifestyle did not excuse us from the everyday dysfunctional family problems that exist within many other families. My parents divorced when I was around the age of 13, and unfortunately neither one of them was in a financial or emotional position to care for my two brothers and myself. We were faced with constant moves, back and forth between Alabama, with my father, to Georgia, with my mother. When the year of graduation came around, I found myself lacking the necessary skills to plan for college. I visited with my counselor, was instructed to take the SAT/ACT, which I got a fee waiver for, and began my applications for colleges. Since many college applications have fees, I narrowed down the list of places I was interested in attending and applied for only five.

Knowing that my parents were still not financially stable enough to support me while I was in school continued to fuel my desire to continue to hold a steady job and care for myself. I learned, through multiple mistakes, what it takes to manage my time better, especially with classes, working part-time and volunteering. I had to learn not to compare myself to other students. I realized that we all have different background, including academic, financial, and even personal aspects. Once I defined for myself what success was, I was able to able to set a goal, and once again dream of higher education and future endeavors.

Although the wait for college acceptance letters was interminable, it was well worth the wait. I was accepted into four accredited universities including the University of Georgia, of which I am now a senior. Through my years of college I participated in various campus organizations until I found a few that I had a passion for. With the help of these organizations I was able to secure a concrete major, since I changed it almost four times up to this point, which is common. Those decisions led me down a path of personal enrichment that I thoroughly have enjoyed.

For those individuals who say that they have no possibility of getting into college, I would challenge them to ask what is stopping them? What makes them different than the thousands of other students out there who are attending accredited colleges and universities? Whether the answer is GPA or finances, just know that college is accessible and possible for everyone. It may take some extra work but everything in life that's worth having is worth working for.