THERE IS LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL


My senior year ended with a bang. Several things went wrong and quite a few went right. I was supposed to go to Penn State University. But, crap happens. My plans for packing up and going to live on miles away from home were cut short due to a family catastrophe.

With that catastrophe I had to grow up pretty fast. Let’s face it, as a product of a teen mom – I was used to it. I’d always thought about life by planning a plan A, B and C. At that point I had to do the below. Most high school graduates find themselves having to make similar choices.

GOT A JOB

Luckily at the time, Washington DC had a program for graduating seniors where they spent 4 weeks training you in job skills – and guess what else? They gave you a job afterward and they paid you while you went. During that time I went to resume writing workshops, learned clerical job skills and took on my first student ‘stay in school job’. I was able to work 20hrs a week with pay at the end of the program. In addition I worked at a local drugstore in order to save money for Community College and pay rent in the room I was renting from a friend.

GO TO COLLEGE

At the time, since I had limited funds and didn’t know how to apply for scholarships or financial aid, I just applied to Community College. I took 5 classes while working my two part-time jobs. My other friends were at four-year colleges, partying it up and wasting their parents money. But for me, this was serious business. School, a degree, was a way for me to survive in the future and get out of the rooming house I lived in.

By chance I met another college student who asked me why I didn’t have a scholarship (my grades were a 4.0) and I told her I didn’t know how to apply or find them. She sat me down and taught me. She didn’t realize that she was my angel. After that, it was on to a 4-year university where I lived on campus and of course – still worked 2 part-time jobs. Why? Because I needed money to survive and I didn’t have a mom or dad to give it to me. I didn’t stop there, I pursued my Master’s degree and made sure it was a specialty that I would be able to make enough to take care of myself.

THINGS I LEARNED

Yeah, post High School was a struggle for me – but, I wouldn’t change it for a moment. Why? Because I grew up, learned to take care of myself, realized that partying, drinking, and drugging was a waste of my time. I, unlike my peers in college, had no where to go when break time came. I had no parents homes I packed up and went to. I learned through the school of hardnocks – to sink or swim, and I was determined to swim. You can too!

~ by LM Preston on August 7, 2010.

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