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Homeless to becoming a College Student

Updated on April 18, 2013

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Facing fear of pre-judgement

There was a fear that I had of the fact that people would judge me for what I had been going through with my home domestic situation of living in a homeless shelter.

So I decided not to really talk much about where I currently resided, because I really felt uncomfortable with the possibility of being labeled by my peers. This was definitely a dilemma I figured I would try to slip to the back of my mind.

Transition to Dorm Life in NYC

I went to college back when college was truly a fun experience, people wasn't losing their minds, & doing harm to themselves or others back then due to the harsh survival stats today with the economy and all.

It was the year 1993, and I was 18 years old at the time, these times had their up's & downs for me & my family in particular. I was somewhat forced to drag my clothing through the city trains in a shopping cart, it definitely felt embarrassing, but I am proud to speak about it today.

Now this might all sound kinda lame compared to today's stories of survival, but this is my true experience. On levels of authenticity this hub should hit a pretty high score with folks here, considering the fact that I'm pulling this one out of my actual life experiences as a youth.

Now back to the subway trains, I was actually a very poor student financially, so I couldn't afford to be driven to college like many people get to see on these Hollywood silver screen movies, when they seem to always display some rich or middle class student being valet parked right in front of their college dorm for the first time.

I really had to hustle my butt off just to get to the dorms, my mom & brothers were residing in a homeless shelter where I pretty much felt relieved to escape from. On that train ride to school I really had some deep revealing thoughts about what was actually in occurrence, each second that ticked by I keep thinking wow, I just gotta put my homeless experience behind me.

This was my ride & 242nd Vancourtland Park was final Destination

This train ride was one to remember

From the very moment when the Train came to a complete stop I suddenly knew it was time for me to let my anxious thoughts reside, and I had to get moving. College is huge, I had thought to myself at that moment, and started to replace my thought's of feeling embarrassed into thoughts of achievement. This stirred something in me that I never ever had before, which is my motive force for generating my efforts today. I knew I had to prove to the world that I was built for success, so I picked my sorry expressions up began smiling and left that train with pride.

What a train ride that was, I couldn't believe my eye's when I finished dragging my worn down shopping cart. The vision of a long hill till victory, and the shiny roadway from passing vehicles head lights. There were like 5 bars, and a pizza shop located at the bottom of the train steps & a huge city park across on the right of the street side I had comfortably positioned my cart at.

This was the beginning of an extraordinary journey through a place they call Manhattan College, located on Riverdale, Bronx New York. I hurried up the long hill moving at a steady pace making sure not to rush, because my stuff was almost falling out of that old shopping cart. I just wanted to get to the dorm room, & I really didn't wanna see anyone there yet. I was in hope that no one would see me arrive, even though I stopped worrying about the fact that I just left a homeless shelter to move into the college dorms.

Meeting My first Roomate - Settling my worries

When I stepped foot into the dorm room, I was amazed at the difference in the amount of space I now had, compared to that of the room in the homeless shelter. It felt like a castle filled with all the amenities that one would have in such a luxurious structure for a king to reside in.

My very first roomate was a droopy kinda guy, who seemed kinda like a loner. I use to wonder what was his childhood like, one thing I did know is that he wasn't all there, he use to smell like beer when he would walk by me, so I assumed he was a drunkard student.

Go figure, most college students drink like whales, even more then military personnel.

These first few steps into the domain of the dorm room, would eventually become my study space, and sanctuary for at least the next 9 months. All the experiences I had previously to that very moment, felt like it had rushed into my head like a shot of adrenalin, hitting the back of my spine.

I had finally acknowledged the fact that making it to college was no-longer an obstacle, the new obstacle became realized simultaneously, that I now had a new mission to academically & socially survive college.

Family outlook & encouragement

For my family this accomplishment was something to be regarded as a sorta celebrity level status, as being similar to landing on the moon for Niel Armstrong & his Nasa space team when they took their first steps on it the marvel of a constellation.

My accomplishments in college, became a sorta trophy I could finally be proud of wearing, just as if I was some great known person in the world like Albert Einstein, & it made me feel wonderful to know it was me that done it.

I always dreamed of the day I would make it to college, when me & my family was actually living in a stabilized housing environment one bed room apartment, we were still poor, but we wasn't always homeless.


This experience was the most humbling one I ever had, because the only thing I had control over was my choice to follow through & challenge the education system further, to grant me access into the adult life of successful career paying jobs.

I will continue this hub in a multilevel group that expresses the full 4 year collegiate experience I had so people can catch a different glimpse from the perspective of a student who had the heart of a Lion, & the patience of a Tortoise.


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    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      Oh thanks @Alocsin, yeah homelessness was no joking matter at all, I'm just happy I learned from that experience, and don't wish it on my worse enemy if I actually had one.

      I also bounced back pretty strong being able to go to college and all thank god to that, he definitely sparred me and my family of losing even more than just our home. Also thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You can't compare one homeless experience to another. It's always traumatic when you undergo it, no matter the circumstances. I'm glad you were able to persist with your college education and come out on top. Voting this Up and Awesome.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 6 years ago from New York City

      Hi there, @ Jennifer Essary nice to meet cha, thanks for giving my hub a try, and I'm glad you liked it. Its tough to experience such things as being homeless, and I don't wish it on anyone, but if you survive it all, it definitely changes your outlook on things, and it has made me see life in a way that I will never take anything for granted again.

      I'm just happy that I made it through, and my family as well, and we can all share such compelling stories with others on the web today, by using great networks like hubpages & can provide such useful or encouraging info to all those who may also be in need of such info.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks @ Faceless, coming from very humble beginnings as a poor person growing up, life is seen very differently, and as you've stated with your awesome comment here, you've gone through such an experience, so we have something in common to share indeed.

      It's not easy to deal with such things as financial struggles and economic hardships as such, but what doesn't kill a person will surely make them stronger in the end, and I sense your also strong like me, to have survived such a condition as being poor, and living to tell the stories.

      Thanks for sharing with me as well, and I have a great deal of reading to do after receiving all these kind messages, see ya soon on one of your hubs.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Wonderful story full of inspiration for those who don't think they can succeed. I bet you'd be a great motivational speaker...just a thought. Voted up, awesome, and sharing.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 6 years ago from New York City

      No problem @ Phdast7, that was quite easy to do because Molometer is a truly helpful guy & deserved it.

      I try to express in many creative ways all of my challenging experiences as a form of inspiration for others. Thank you for being so kind to share with me & for reading my hub, your such a nice person for that. Will be dropping by to share with you as well, soon.

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Faceless39 6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful. I can totally relate to this; I wasn't homeless, but I've been super poor before. Especially at a young age it can be mentally debilitating and really embarrassing. But you faced your problems head on, fought hard, and you won. Now you're glad for your experiences, aren't you? They give you a perspective on life that most people don't have. Props!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you for writing the Hub about molometer (he is indeed terrific) because he deserved the thanks and because that is how I found you. Impressive Hub about your first year in college. You did have the heart of a lion to move straight from ahomelessshelter into a dorm room. Good for you!! I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks big bro for reading and leaving an awesome comment here, we been through a great deal of things, and today many other are going through it worldwide, this story here is proof we all can make it, & no matter how the going gets.

      Tough times always are followed by tough experiences, and enduring them makes you a faithful survivor of it all. Love you bro can't wait to see you again, in due time if the lord permits.

    • profile image

      Taalib Abdur Rahim Pugh 6 years ago

      Yo Mike that was good well written. Trust me you know I feel you,you know I know your struggle. As your brother I felt the brunt of it as well. Even thou I was not there it did touch me to know this had happened. When I got back from Virginia the same thing happened to me. So I know bro .

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks everyone for sharing with me, and for reading my hub, college was awesome indeed, I just wish I had other circumstances in life prior to joining it, then maybe I would have had an even better experience overall.

    • kootheancheah profile image

      kootheancheah 6 years ago from Penang, Malaysia

      CloudExplorer, Thank you for sharing for sharing your college experience here. I enjoyed reading it very much; it brought back good memories for me even though I left college some 30 years ago. :-)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      This is a great Hub. It's clear that you are a thoughtful person and that your college experience only enhanced your life. Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting Read. I like the Greenery in the photo.

      School life is the Best... :)