Number of Children: One
Married, Single, Divorced, Widowed: Divorced
Dream Job/ Career Goals: My career goals are to teach high school temporarily, and eventually teach at a college. My dream job would be to work at a sports magazine, I love to write and I love sports. My main goal is to start a not for profit for children with disabilities and low income families. City programs do not cater to low income families or families with children with disabilities; they should be able to have a place to go to to learn arts and crafts, participate in sports, learn dancing, etc.
Why did you decide to go to school? Well, I saw myself going to college ever since I can remember. It was something that I knew my family expected of me; therefore I expected it of myself. However, there was a period of time when I worked in business and made very good money and at that point I wasn’t sure school was for me; I thought that I was successful without it. We all know that nothing lasts forever and neither did that job…or many of the jobs that came after that. I met people who took advantage of others, who didn’t care about how others felt, people who did not care about making a difference. It was then that I realized that money comes and goes, employers can replace you with someone else, some people will want to tear you down, but no one can ever take what you have learned away from you, or how you feel about yourself. So I realized that I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to learn.
“Never focus on what you should have done;
every mistake is an opportunity for growth.”
What is your biggest fear in terms of college? My biggest fear is to just go through the motions of college, instead of truly living it. I hope to avoid this and get involved at Cal Poly by joining clubs, going to events, and networking.
At your college are there a good amount of moms in your classes? Classes in the day usually do not have a lot of moms; this past year and a half I went to school in the day so I only met a few. Night classes tend to have more mothers.
Do you associate with students who aren’t mothers? If so, how do you feel around them? I do associate with some students who are not mothers. I feel good around them. I’m a bit older than the ones that I know, but In general I feel comfortable around them.
What inspires/motivates you? The love that I have for my daughter definitely inspires and motivates me; I want to set the example that she can accomplish anything that she sets her mind to. Adversity also motivates me; being able to accomplish my goals, although all the odds are against me, makes the accomplishments so much more fulfilling.
“I always told myself that although I had a hard time believing it, I deserved a degree and a career just as much as anyone else.”
Tell me a little bit of your story: I was always drawn to literature and writing, I also used to love to read all of the time as a young girl so I knew that I would major in English one day. My mom ensured that I always did well in school and was always making sure that I was taking steps towards the future that she envisioned. She was a very dominant figure in our lives and she planned out everything: our days, our lives, our entire future. Our family was very dependent on her. My life turned upside down however, when she suddenly passed away when I was sixteen and my brother was fourteen. Life seemed to just keep spiraling down for years after that when my father became a very depressed and broken man. He soon became an alcoholic, and instead of going to college like my mother planned for me, I got married to escape life at home at the age of eighteen in 2002. Unfortunately, this was not the happily ever after that I bargained for. After I had my daughter, at the age of 20, my ex-husband became very abusive-both emotionally and physically. I had never met a person who could make me feel so bad, or who would do and say such terrible things. One of his favorite things he liked to tell me was that a waste of space, a waste of a brain…a waste of air. I will never forget that. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I hid the physical abuse from my family and friends; I covered my bruises and never told anyone what I was going through. On July 4, 2005 I finally made the decision to leave him. I refused to allow my daughter to grow up in a household filled with such negativity and abuse. I told him that I wanted a divorce, and he held me captive in my room at knife-point for fourteen of the scariest hours of my life, my brother called the police who only asked him to leave. I used this opportunity to escape with my daughter, I purchased a bus ticket to Yuma, Arizona where my father had made arrangements for my cousin to pick me up and drive me to my Godparents home in Mexico, where I stayed for a month. When I came back, reality was waiting and I realized I was a 22 year old single mom of an almost two year old little girl, from that point on I knew I had to be strong for the both us and press on, no matter how I felt. I always told myself that although I had a hard time believing it, I deserved a degree and a career just as much as anyone else. It was at this point that I told myself that I deserved the best, and I would go to school and get an education no matter how long it took . I have taken care of my dad and my daughter for years now; I have worked as a loan processor, a graveyard shift server, real estate transaction coordinator, and manager throughout the years, all the while taking one or two classes. The past year and a half I have gone to school full-time and although it was hard at times, I developed friendships at school with very positive people, who have helped me succeed in my goals. I am so happy to be able to say that this year, in June 2013, I graduated from Mount San Antonio College, and I am now a transfer student at Cal Poly Pomona University. It’s been a long journey, and I still have some way to go, but I am so happy and proud of where I have gotten to today.
Any advice for other mothers thinking about going/returning to college? Yes. Never focus on what you should have done; every mistake is an opportunity for growth. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you. Let go of those who bring you down and above all love yourself because you are worth it!
Thank you so much Anita for being so open and real with me and my readers. Your story is truly inspiring and I am proud of you for continuing to move forward with your head held high!
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence/abuse please do not hesitate to get help. You can visit http://www.thehotline.org/ for instant help or call the the hotline number at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)