I was an unexpected child born to two teens. My mom went back to get her GED when I was five and my dad got on at TWA. It seemed that things were going well and we moved into a house in a safer part of town and one more room to accommodate our family’s new addition, my sister. After 9/11, my dad was laid off and was unemployed for almost an entire year. My mom had to give up her love of hairstyling and get a “real” job working the phone lines of an insurance company. Several family tragedies later and years of trying to keep our house and my parents trying to work out their now-abusive marriage, my parents finally divorced, filed for bankruptcy, and our house was foreclosed on. I spent months living with relatives and hopping from bed to bed (often couch to couch) until I was able to land a job and move out on my own.
I took a chance when I chose to attend one of the best schools in St. Louis. I graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA and felt that I deserved to go to a good school, even if it meant paying for it. I received one of the highest academic scholarships offered, but it still wasn’t enough to cover everything. Federal and state grants have allowed me to get the most out of my education and return every year with lower debt than I could have ever expected. Because of the aid I’ve received, I’m even going to be able to study abroad next year!
And sure, I work 40 hours a week at 19 years old and I’m taking the maximum credit hours available per semester, but I’m loving every minute of it! I know that I’m ultimately a harder worker and better person because of these grants and I feel that finally, finally all my hard work is paying off!
Needless to say, I’m proud that my first vote cast in a presidential election will be for President Obama because I know that he’s looking out for people like me.