I was born into the stereotypical rural, low-income southern Appalachian family with its fair share of substance abuse, jail time, domestic violence, and extremely low life aspirations. I knew from an early age that I did not want that to be MY life for the rest of my life, and I knew that education was the only way to accomplish that. So I made sure that I studied, got good grades, stayed as far away from trouble as I could possibly get, and got into college.
During my college career I faced a slight bit of “oh, now you think you’re better than us, huh?” mentality from some family members, which was not true and kind of hurt. I just knew that I wanted a better future outlook for myself than they obviously wanted for themselves, and so I made it happen, against the odds and expectations.
It was most definitely a struggle (a 5-year struggle at that!), but I finally earned my bachelor’s degree in the spring of ‘98, and I’m SO glad that I didn’t let anything keep me from it.
My parting words? – “Just do it!”