6 November 2012

Hope for a Brighter Future

posted by UALR

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.

3 Responses to “Hope for a Brighter Future”

  1. Salah Dhahri says:


    WOW, what a story. I am speechless. I think you should send it to Hollywood.

    Congrats on your achievement. Good luck as you move forward in life.


  2. Kasandra Barker says:

    Amy Jo, what a wonderful story. You have certainly proved the motto, “when there’s a will, there’s a way….”

  3. Laura Smith says:

    You have always been the smartest and hard working one in our family of 4. I am so very proud of you and amazed at the drive you have always had to succeed in all you do. My hopes for your future are that you simply continue on the path you are on because I already know you will be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister and any company that you work for when you complete your training will be a better company for it…….

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