All my life money has been a worry. My mom has worked low paying jobs as a sales clerk; my dad was rarely home and they divorced when I was 16. Since then, it has been my brother, my mother and me. There have been many months when we have gone without electricity and water, but I made it through those hard times knowing that I wanted to do something great. I didn’t want to struggle daily with money.

I learned when I was a senior in high school that there was financial aid available for college, and I applied for almost every college in Tennessee, along with some in other states. When I was accepted into Tusculum College, I was so excited. I’d gone on a college tour the summer before and had fallen in love with it–it was my dream school! But I was deeply worried that I wouldn’t qualify for any scholarships or grants. I filled out my FAFSA and was thrilled when I got the letter from telling me I’d been awarded scholarships and grants that covered most of my tuition. I qualified for a few loans as well, and decided to accept them; I have confidence that I will find a good job after graduation.

I’m currently a sophomore and love every minute of college. More importantly, I know that I want to continue beyond college. I plan on going to graduate school to become a college professor. I love helping other people and I love literature and writing, so I’ve decided to combine my loves. If I didn’t have financial aid, I know I wouldn’t be in college; I would probably be working a dead-end job.

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