I came from a home with a father who was extremely controlling, and did all he could to isolate my mother, myself and my brother. There were weeks on end when we didn’t even leave the house to go grocery shopping. My brother and I were “homeschooled”, our groceries were delivered, my father screamed and backhanded me because he couldn’t find his comb… and it was all pretty normal for us. At sixteen I was excited about going to college and getting a degree in journalism, but had my dreams dashed when my father told me that, because I was a girl, I was not allowed to leave the house. Upon my homeschool graduation, my mom enrolled me in a correspondence course and picked philosophy as my major. I hated it, and because they rarely had any money to pay for the courses, I made very little progress anyway.
Fast-forward ten years. I had escaped; I was married with a two year old little girl, and started thinking about “finishing” my degree. I have always had a passion for teaching and was excited to be able to choose a major in education – but I quickly ran into what seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. Without my knowledge, my parents had not registered me with the state for the last two years of “homeschooling”. The transcripts and diploma they had given me were completely fabricated. The “college” in which they had enrolled me was unaccredited. I had no official GPA and according to the law, I was a high school dropout. It was a crushing blow, but within a couple of days I picked myself up, looked into and registered for the next GED test available, took it, and passed with flying colors.
Being (finally!) accepted into Armstrong was amazing. Every day that I go to the campus, shouldering my heavy bags of books, I still swell with pride – and every now and again, feel something akin to disbelief. I remember so well those moments, not so very long ago, when I was twenty one years old and begging my stalwart parents to allow me to get my driver’s license – and now, here I am. I’m married to a wonderful, supportive, man, have a sweet little girl, drive forty-five minutes each way twice a week to a real college, where I am earning a very official Bachelor of Science in Special Education and have a beautifully authentic transcript.
I chose Special Education mid-way through my first semester and am so glad that I did. I can’t imagine now going back to Early Childhood. I just have such a heart for those students who are struggling because of various disabilities (which they did not choose for themselves), and want to be able to fight for them and help them reach their full potential. I can’t imagine the elation I will feel upon obtaining my degree, because for so long, all of this seemed so impossible.
We are proud to announce this anonymous student is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.