Be An Empowered Young Woman - Get An Education - PLEASE!
From My Parents House to My Husbands House
Having had parents who proudly owned their 1940 ideals - my sisters and I were never pushed to get an education. We were "groomed" to be decent wives. We were taught how to cook, iron, take care of children, clean, etc.. Our parents didn't expect or encourage an education beyond highschool. Therefore, after graduating from highschool - I went from being dependent on my parents to being dependent on a spouse.
Abused and Powerless
After several failed marriages I learned that leaving my heart and my fate in the hands of someone else could be disastrous! I was battered and bullied by the best! After one last go around - I had had enough. I gave up a 3,000 square foot home in the suburbs and took refuge in the projects. I was like a deer in headlights. Alone and petrified. I had become paralyzed by years of abuse and intimidation. I had three children in my care (my oldest daughter was living with her Dad) and hadn't the faintest idea what I was going to do.
I didn't have two nickels to rub together! My ex refused to pay child support...so our lives changed dramatically. I had to wash my children's clothes in the kitchen sink. Dishes were done by hand and not in a dishwasher. There was no longer carpet beneath our feet - but worn linoleum. Christmas gifts and Christmas dinner was provided to us by local churches. Our lives had hit rock bottom.
No Where to Go but Up
I was laying beside my 11 month old daughter on a bed we shared. The light from a security lamp outside the window was illuminating her angelic peaceful face while tears were streaming down mine. What the heck was I doing? How could I raise her or my sons in the projects? I had to do better by my children. I felt so alone - so powerless - so broken. After hours of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I had an epiphany....if we were going to get out of this mess - it was totally up to me. I could no longer count on a parent, a husband, or a boyfriend to "rescue" me. I had to rescue me - and my children.
Going to College at age 41!
I decided the only way I was going to be able to provide a lifestyle comparable (or better) than our lifestyle prior to the projects - was to get an education. I had heard a few neighbors talking about registering for classes at the local community college and asked them a zillion questions. After making a few calls I found out a student could actually end up with a 4 year degree without having to move to a university town. This was important to me because ever since I was young - I wanted to be a teacher. I knew this required more than an Associates Degree which is generally all a community college offers. But I found they offered a B.S. in Education in conjunction with a state university. I was estatic! I wanted a B.S. in Education - but I didn't want to have to uproot my children - again. Praise God my dream was taking shape! So - I made the bold move. For the first time in my life I registered for college classes. I was 41 and absolutely petrified! Was I smart enough? Was I going to be the oldest one in my class? Who would take care of my daughter when I was in class? What if I had a panic attack? I told myself NO EXCUSES - you can to do this. You have to do this! You have to do this for your own self esteem and for your children's sake. I had to provide a better life for them - and I wanted to be the kind of mother they could look up to.
The community college showed me the ropes. They helped me apply for financial aid, choose the right classes for my major, sign up for the right classes, buy the necessary books and supplies, and how to get a grant for daycare! After everything was paid for with grant money - I actually had a few bucks left over in which I was able to pay $100.00 bucks for the ugliest car in town! But it got me to my classes and that's all that mattered! I felt bad we were on every form of government aid known to man. We had foodstamps, medicaid, daycare, Section 8, and Pell Grant assistance. But I knew it was for the greater good.
To Make A Lonnnnng Story Short
Although going to school and raising three children by myself was no walk in the park - I managed to get through it! I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2006 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. Today, I actually have a Masters in Education and have been teaching in Florida since 2008. I guess my point in writing this hub is this - please ladies - do yourself a favor. Save yourself from all the angst and heart ache I had to go through.
Had I gone to college right out of highschool - I would have had the self esteem and the experience to realize I could be self sufficient! If you don't already believe in yourself - please consider empowering yourself with an education. Knowledge is a beautiful thing. It is something no one will ever be able to take away from you.
God Bless and God Speed.