Saturday, August 7, 2010

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!

6 comments:

beth said...

I like this post. I had a similar college experience, though with the two-three part time jobs I didn't maintain anywhere near a 4.0. I wish I had!

LM Preston said...

Oh, Beth, let's suffice it to say I had no social life and I made sure I was friends with the smartest kids in class (they always had awesome notes). Thanks for stopping by and sharing your life after high school story.

Jessie said...

my hat off to you L.M.!! Although my family was by no means privileged, I was lucky enough to have a HS that helped me apply for scholarships from the get-go. Looking back on those 3 years (much cheaper to get your degree in 3 years rather than 4), I can't believe (a) how much work I thought it was and (b) how freaking easy it actually was.
One thing we did have in common: I knew getting an education and keeping my grades up was the way to make sure I didn't end up cleaning other people's houses like my mom.

Annie McElfresh said...

Life is most def. a struggle! Gald you came out on top! :)

A Tale of Many Reviews said...

Great post! Lots of character building I'm sure, although probably not they way you would have liked to learn it. ;) Again, great post.

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