I always wanted to complete my education and journey to college – ever since I graduated from high school. My parents were in no place to help me financially at the time, and once I got a job right out of high school, thoughts of college drifted to the back of my mind. A year after graduating high school though, I was married and my life took a different path than the one that I had envisioned for myself.
I didn’t want that for my daughter, April. I knew when she was still in elementary school and made honor roll five years in a row that she was destined for college. She had a love of learning that mimicked my own, and I encouraged that every chance that I could. We didn’t have an easy life, there was more than enough family drama for twenty families, but we managed to get through it all – somewhat scarred and battle worn.
Her senior year of high school, she got engaged at Christmas. I didn’t want her following in my footsteps, getting married and forgetting about college, but like her mother at that same age, she was in love and nothing I could say or do would change her mind. A few months before she graduated high school, we had a falling out, and she moved in with her fiance’s family and lived with them for the rest of her senior year. I attended her graduation – the first graduating class of her high school – and I was so proud of her!
Her Journalism/English teacher – Mr. Noechel – was pretty important in helping her to really see the potential inside her (something I had told her she had all along). It is different when that same support and encouragement comes from an outside source though, and he really helped her to figure out what was most important for her education. Her school counselor provided her with a letter of recommendation as well as assisting with the financial aid waiver for one of the colleges, but most of the research she did on her own.
She kept her dream of college alive, and applied to the two colleges she was really interested in, and was accepted into both. She did a lot of research, pouring over all the options, applying and then waiting. We struggled with finances and how we were going to pay for college, as I was currently unemployed and she only had a part-time job. We filled out paperwork for financial aid for her tuition, both of us a little embarrassed at having to admit, on paper, just how poor things really were for our family.
She was accepted to Lynchburg under their early acceptance program (they are a private school and extremely competitive) and we were both thrilled about the fact that this prestigious school wanted her to attend. Her back up school was VCU. So she had a decision to make – whether she wanted to stay here locally and be with her fiancé and attend school at VCU, or if she wanted to go out on her own and move to Lynchburg and attend school there.
As she put it, “I ended up making a decision for a boy. And I really regret it. But my time at VCU wasn’t wasted and I had some very wonderful experiences. I do wish I could see where my life may have gone if I had gone to Lynchburg instead.”
She graduated early from VCU with a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. She grew into an exceptional woman, and she is changing the world in her own unique way, and I could not be more proud of her than I am today. Through everything that she had been through
I have two more children still at home that are wavering between whether they want to attend college or not. Unfortunately, they do not have my love of education and knowledge so I’m not sure if my dreams of college for them will be fulfilled or not. Only time will tell, but I know that whatever they decide, we will make it through and be able to choose an option that will be right for them.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Kaplan Test Prep. I received compensation to write this post, and any opinions expressed are my own, and reflect my actual experience.