Stories - spring 2018

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personal space

“I just graduated last year from Helena High, and I was originally planning to go to MSU…but I’m an introvert. I don’t like big places… I am just happy in my own personal space… And it was also the fact of staying in town. Because everyone goes away, and I stayed.”

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overcoming

“I have a brain injury, and I was in an accident when I was 19—coma for 15 days, learned to walk and talk all over again. Never thought I’d be able to do college, never.  And my husband looked at me and said, ‘You’re not dumb, you’re not. You’ll go.’”

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surviving

“I’m a survivor. I’m that. I mean, I’ve been through a lot. I celebrate my 40th birthday at the end of the month. It’s amazing. Here I am, raising four kids on my own and going to school and working and taking care of my grandma. I have a lot of people say: how do you do it? I don’t know, I just do it. There’s no option. It just has to be done.”

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Resilience

“Factors that have benefited my sobriety and my recovery—school and education. There are a lot of ideals that I believe—like, I know for myself—that I was raised with, that I learned. Coming to college has led me to realize what is actually relevant, and I can drop those old ideals and gain new ones.”

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Decision

“I’ve always kind of struggled with anxiety and depression, and so when I get really anxious, everything scares me. Coming to do something so big and huge was like: I had to completely shut off my brain and just make a decision.”

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Purpose

“My purpose, honestly, is to be the best person I can be.”

 
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Experience

“I thought, you know, just about everything out there has got computers, and I didn’t know how to run one. So, I figured I’d better go to school..”

 
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coming back

“If you have a story, and you’re able to explain it and show that you’ve done something, then your grades—I mean they matter, but they don’t.”

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Getting it done

“The thing about being a line staff in human services is that you don’t really ever go anywhere. You kind of just work with people and you work with people and unless you get a degree, you just kind of stay in that position forever.”

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finding home

“I spent the next year and a half attending school and living in a tent. I studied marine science—of course that’s what you study when you go to school in Hawaii.”

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Triumph

“I said for my birthday I’m going to make sure I get my GED and then I’m going to go across the hall and enroll in college. I didn’t understand that college accepted people unless they were super smart and didn’t just drop out of school.”

 
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Breaking Barriers

“I am the first to attend college. I am the first of my immediate family to graduate high school. I mean, I’ve already broken down all the barriers.”

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recovery

“I want my kids to know that no matter what they go through in life, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Twenty, twenty-five years ago, there was no hope. In another semester or two, I’m going to be walking across that graduation stage.”

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The smart one

“My older sister was the smart one, I was the one with the big heart that cared, and my little sister she was the pretty one. And we were all categorized into these little places and so I always did horrible in school, because I wasn’t the smart one, so I didn’t have to.”