Amy Jo Hall wrote this week’s guest post. Against some pretty incredible odds, she became the first in her family to attend college. She is one of many first-generation students here at UALR.
As the oldest of four children, I was the first to leave home at the age of 18. I began working at a factory. Neither of my parents graduated high school, and college certainly did not seem attainable since we were quite poor.
After becoming widowed in 2007 and labeled a dislocated worker due to being a stay-at-home mom at the time of my husband’s passing, it seemed a pivotal time to enter college. The thought of working a minimum wage job without a continued education for an employer unlikely to have concern for the demands at home is a scary scenario.
The first step was to obtain my GED, which I did successfully in 2008. After a 15-year break from school, I was venturing off to college on an academic scholarship I received from the state based on my GED scores. The scholarship focused my studies at a local community college. At the age of 33 as a single mom with 3 children at home, I began to pursue my associate’s degree at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton.
The adventure took me for an even bumpier ride when I learned that I would be expecting another child in May 2009. To my delight, I didn’t have to pause even one semester as my youngest was born May 24, 2009, about 2 weeks after finals in my first semester. I started right back up again in the fall semester and maintained a full-time schedule until I graduated in the fall 2011. Most of my efforts went into the schoolwork, although I also worked part-time for Career Pathways on campus and completed a contract with AmeriCorps during that time.
I was accepted to UALR with the Breedlove Transfer Scholarship and began my studies in the College of Business this semester. I am now remarried, and the support system provided by my family and faculty enforce the importance of furthering education in order to meet the needs of the future.