When I was sixteen, I got pregnant with my oldest son and married my high school sweetheart. I quit school because we couldn’t afford daycare, and none of my family was able to babysit. I thought it was the end of any education for me.
At twenty-three I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). In order to afford the medication, I applied for disability services. Taking that step reinforced the idea in my mind that I would never be able to earn a degree. I spent the next twenty years as a stay-at-home mom.
At the age of thirty-six, my RA was under control and I made the decision to pursue a college degree. I enrolled at Motlow in the fall of 2009. My goal was just to get through the first semester. I initially felt extremely out of place, but with the help of fellow students and Debra Smith, who was Dean of the Fayetteville campus, I began to find my place.
My second goal was to have a 3.5 GPA. I made it! During my time at Motlow I served as the Phi Theta Kappa president, a Student Government Association senator, and an English tutor. I also participated in the Study Abroad program and spent three weeks studying literature in England. I was selected as one of Motlow’s 2012 representatives for the All-Tennessee Academic Team.
I graduated with a 3.8 GPA and received an academic scholarship to Athens State University. After graduating from Motlow, I worked part-time with the Orientation team where I discovered my passion for helping students as they were introduced to college.
My next goal was to become a Completion Coach. I graduated from Athens State in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In the fall of 2015, I began working part-time with the student success department. I currently work as a Completion Coach and began working on my master’s degree in January.
When I say “Motlow changed my life,” it is an understatement. It changed the way I feel about myself, how I interact with other people, and the way I thought my life would turn out. It not only changed my life; it changed my family’s life too. My family now includes three more Motlow graduates.
I know without a doubt that had I not received so much support and guidance from Motlow, I would not be where I am now. In my role as a Completion Coach, I can give back to students all the support and understanding I received during my time at Motlow. Thank you, Motlow!