When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was 16 years old and just about to begin my junior year of high school. I was afraid and anxious, but most of all worried because of my future. Junior year is the main year that many colleges looked at, primarily because of SAT’s and such. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to graduate due to failing grades and the six week maternity leave. I remember crying because I had put it in my head that I possibly won’t be able to attend college since all of my earnings would go towards my child and her expenses. As I attended my classes and walked through the halls at my high school, I wondered, “What’s the point of even being here and graduating if I’m just going to struggle and probably not even go to the university that I want to attend?” I agonized over the thought of dropping out, and I almost did if it wasn’t for the support of Mrs. Samantha Garza.
Mia was born in April of 2011 at the end of my junior year, and that’s when the pressure to go to college intensified. Once senior year began in August of 2011, I started noticing how all of the friends that I used to have were excited to graduate and move on with their lives. I’ve seen a lot of girls who have had children in high school graduate, but either they just settled down and had more kids after high school, or they went to college for a semester and then stopped altogether. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life and put numbers together. I didn’t want to settle for working long hours just to live from paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t want to be settling for a cramped apartment or living with my parents for the rest of my life depending on welfare to get me by. Although there are some outliers when it comes to this, statistics towards living under the poverty line with no higher education as a teen mother was chasing after me. It just wasn’t in my plans to NOT go to college. My parents never went to college; they didn’t even graduate high school. They came over to the United States to give us a better life and I was set on making them proud. Everyone expects for teen mothers to fail, and with that much negative expectation, I wanted to change the views of people.
When my family found out about my plans, there were mixed feelings about things. I had some support, but mostly I would hear, “How are you going to raise a child if you aren’t working full time” and “you can’t go to college if you have no money.” Either way, there was the issue of money always being brought up wherever I turned. I didn’t want to work full time and set aside college. The pressure was on because I honestly wasn’t going to have any financial help. My parents weren’t going to pay for me and I had no job at the moment, so I desperately searched around in hopes of finding something.
I first heard about the MacArthur OB/GYN scholarship through my high school counselor. She gave me a list of scholarships to look at on the Irving Schools Foundation website and as I was scrolling down, one specific link caught my eye. As I read the requirements for the posting of the OB/GYN clinic, I realized that I fit all of the points to be able to apply for it. I thought to myself, “Well it’s worth a shot, why not?” I went ahead, applied and anxiously waited to hear back from the board. I didn’t think that I was going to be the receiver of the award; it was my pessimistic nature to believe in such thoughts, but when I found out that I won I was so overjoyed that I think I cried a bit. NOW there was no excuse for me not to attend my first year at college. There was no excuse for me to say, “I can’t go to because I don’t have the cash for it.” I signed up for classes at my local junior college and walked into lecture hall on the first day, ecstatic because I was actually attending.
This scholarship gave me more than enough to pay for classes and books for both the first and second semester. My first year of college was paid for, and I grinned ear to ear because my education was all that I had going for me. BUT not only did this scholarship help me with school, it also gave me the last bit of cash that I needed to buy my car to be able to drive to and from work, school and the babysitter’s. It helped me to be able to work and save up so that I can pay for my next year of school without having to worry about making the deadlines for the payment plan I had originally set up. Many people don’t realize how grateful I am to the Wollenman Family and the MacArthur OB/GYN clinic for donating this money to help me. The amount might not have been much for certain people, but it was more than enough for me.
I honestly feel that this will really help many future college students a lot. The award goes out to high school students who are involved with a group having to deal with teen pregnancy issues. I personally was involved with TAPPS, the Teenage Pregnant and Parenting Students group. It was run by Ms. Garza and included all of the teen mothers on campus. In a way, we were our own support group as many of us were shunned against by our fellow peers. The people applying don’t have to be a teen parent, but raising awareness towards this is VERY important.
I don’t regret my daughter. She is the reason I decided to attend college to better myself. However having her so young, has made certain things financially, physically and emotionally difficult. So many people can benefit from this help, and it can go toward classes, books, daycare or anything else that might be needed to be able to attend school! I deserve a chance just like everyone else does; after all, what really sets me aside from any other college student other than just a few minor details?
So to everybody reading this, this scholarship helps out in a great deal of ways. Good luck to the next winner! I certainly have benefited very much. I am now currently working on my transfer basics to be able to attend TWU and reach my career plan of becoming a certified Nurse-Midwife. With the help of the Wollenman family and the staff at MacArthur OB/GYN, I’m taking the first step towards the rest of my life. What will help all of you?