I am from a rough part of Des Moines, Iowa, and went to a rough school where most students were not going to go to college—a lot of them did not even graduate in four years. Now I attend Buena Vista University, a private university in Storm Lake Iowa. According to my teachers in middle school, I was never supposed to be here; they predicted I would drop out the minute I was able to. I was never supposed to make it through my freshman year of high school, but I graduated last spring in the top 25 percent of my class, with a 3.01 cumulative high school GPA, and a 3.0 cumulative college GPA.

I come from a single-parent family, where my mother raised my younger sister and me. We could not afford for me to attend school without the help of the financial aid I currently receive: scholarships from Buena Vista, federal and state loans, the Parents PLUS loan and Federal Work-Study. BVU is just where I need to be and I know for a fact that if I lose my financial aid, I will have to go home and stop going to school; if I am lucky, I’ll be able to earn my associate’s degree from Des Moines Area Community College.

But I moved this far from home because I do not belong in Des Moines anymore. With the amount of money my mother earns, and the way I acted in middle school, no one believed I would be in college. But today I am proving wrong the people who thought I could not do this. If I lose any type of financial aid, all of those people would be proven right and I would let my mom down by not graduating and living the best life I can live. This school will get me just where I need to be in my life. I may not know exactly where it will take me but I am positive that it will be a million times better than living in Des Moines, working somewhere with just a high school degree and the small possibility of attending DMACC.

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