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NONTRADITIONAL 

“I’m not the cookie-cutter life. I became a mom at age 18, and so from that point on, I had to grow up really fast and just figure myself out. So doing mom, and then work, and then school, and then after school, it’s marriage—so it’s all these things not in the cookie-cutter fashion, but to me it makes sense.” 

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Work Ethic 

“The workplace landscape is changing, and with that, so must I. To be able to continue to be successful—like my role models—I must also change. This is the driving force behind my decision to come back to college to earn my degree…. I won’t let anything stand in my way.” 

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Inspiration

"I was kind of a broken kid at the time, so I wasn’t talkative at all. I was really quiet and to myself and my uncle knew that, but he brought me back here. My aunt and my little cousins were excited to see me with my broken tooth and big black eye.... But I was getting better. They were bringing me back to church, and I was realizing what Jesus had done for me—saved me off the streets, sent my aunt and uncle for me, and I regained that relationship with Him.”

 
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Joy

“It was a beautiful time in my life because I had no money, but that never bothered me, and looking back on it, I question why that never bother me—being 19, living at my dad’s with a person who also had no money, and that never mattered. All that mattered was that beautiful baby and how much joy she brought to my life.”

 
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Faith

“Growing up in a poor family, the opportunity for a college education seemed unattainable. As I was now raising my own children and working to make ends meet, I was fortunate to work and worship with individuals who would become mentors and show me that others’ views of me isn’t what I should believe about myself. Due to my faith and mentors, I haven’t given up on my dream of obtaining a college degree.”

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Forthcoming…

 
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Judgment

My learning disabilities and my stress disorders—those have probably been the hardest, especially growing up. Being told by my family that I was stupid. Being told by some teachers that I was stupid. That was the hardest. It still affects me. I lack confidence in myself because of all those years I was told I was stupid.”

 
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next steps

“When I was staying home with [my daughter], I became actively involved in my church. That was a lot of healing time for me, from the things I was doing before. It took a long time to heal and get my self-confidence back, and… then coming to school just seemed like the next natural step. It’s neat—especially as a nontraditional student, when you’re older—and you realize that you can still go after something that you’re passionate about.”

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Back to school

“When I got accepted into pharmacy school, and I told her [my daughter], the first thing she said was, ‘I’m so proud of you, Mom,’ and so that’s all I needed to hear because the whole reason I’m doing it is so I can pay for her to go to college and to do things that I didn’t get to do.”

 
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opportunity

As I grew up, there was this sense of being disorganized, and I felt trapped in that, and I really wanted to get out. When you’re little and you grow up that way, you think, “Oh, this is all there is,” but when you see other people who are successful, it changes your perspective on success and gives you hope for opportunity.