Success in Degrees.
As the daughter of an immigrant single mother raising four children, the dream of becoming the first generation of my family to attend college always seemed like an ambitious goal that was just out of reach for me. However, after working hard throughout high school, with an unyielding commitment to taking my education to the next level, I enrolled at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
While this was a significant step in my journey towards college graduation, I quickly discovered that achieving your dreams requires a series of steps…and sometimes overcoming a series of obstacles.
When I initially arrived at St. Norbert, it was a difficult transition from high school. As a first-generation college student, I did not know what to expect or how to prepare for college. My first semester, I was part of the Academic Enhancement Program. I found the program really helpful because I learned how to study and manage my time. But I still struggled in my classes and did not get the grades that I worked hard for, particularly in math.
With persistence and hard work, I finally started to see success in my schoolwork, including making the Dean’s list. However, just as things started to fall into place for me from an educational perspective, a series of events in my personal life began to put my dream of graduating college into question.
It was at that time that my mother informed me that she had lost her job and that she was not able to pay rent or other bills. My mom and younger siblings had to move in with my aunt because, unfortunately, they had nowhere else to go.
During this period of desperation, my family wanted me to leave school so I could get a job and help them financially. Despite my family’s wishes, I decided that was not the best option, but that staying in school and getting a college education was more meaningful for the future of my family. It was perhaps the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.
Because my family could no longer help me financially, it has been important for me to work, especially during the summer. This past summer I worked three jobs. However, even with the additional income, it has been necessary for me to take out student loans.
What has been truly inspiring to me in this journey is that others have also given generously to help me in my pursuit of a college degree. In fact, after falling short of the money needed to complete one semester’s tuition, an individual from the community donated money to pay the balance of my bill. I was so happy and relieved that someone was that incredibly generous and thoughtful to help me out when I needed it most. Because of this relief I was able to focus on my studies, and I improved in all of my classes.
In the end, what has continued to drive me throughout this challenging time is that I wanted to graduate college to have a better life and to be a role model for my younger siblings and other family members. In the long term, I know that having a college education will be the best thing for me and my family.
I have personally experienced the benefits of people (faculty and staff) who believed in me and inspired me to succeed in college. After I graduate from St. Norbert I plan to go to graduate school for student affairs so that I can inspire other students to reach their goals.
I can proudly tell you today that in just six short months, I will be receiving my undergraduate degree.