This I Believe

Jill - Urbana, Ohio
Entered on November 20, 2006

I was never a very responsible person. In high school, I was much more concerned with having time to socialize with my friends, concentrating on my hobbies like twirling baton and playing the Horn, and drifting away in class thinking about what I would rather be doing. I went to a community college right after graduating but I just couldn’t seem to get the motivation to do the work.

When I was nineteen years old, I got pregnant with my first child. I was unwed, unskilled, uneducated, and terrified about what the future would be for myself and my new family.

Immediately after the birth of my son, my maternal instinct seemed to really kick my behind into gear. I stayed home with my son for the first year and then went back to work. My new husband finished college and after he graduated, I went, five years older than the typical freshman and almost 6 months pregnant with my second child. Here I thought the idea of giving birth was scary, well, college was scarier! But, I knew that I wanted to set an example for my children. I wanted to learn more, not to settle for what I had, and I wanted to prove to myself (and to everyone else that thought I would never be able to do it) that I could accomplish anything, despite the obstacles.

Here I am, about to finish the first half of my senior year in college. Dealing with work, school, children, marriage, a mortgage, soccer practices, and being involved in my University’s campus has proven difficult at times; many days I thought I would never make it through and I wanted to quit. All it takes is one look into the faces of my little boys – my angels, and it gives me the will to continue. I would have never been able to do this if it weren’t for them and the rest of my family helping me along the way and being willing to sacrifice some of their time with me so I can write papers, study, or do homework. There were many times that I created flashcards and Logan, my six-year-old, used them to help me study. There was one study session with Logan where I was studying for a Spanish exam and Logan asked me how to say the color red in Spanish. I quickly answered pelirrojo. His response was, “No Mommy, pelirrojo is a person who is a redhead; rojo is the color red.”

I have realized how valuable an education is, not just for me but for everyone in my life who has invested in me. I have also realized just how much struggle others in my situation face trying to juggle school, work, and their families. Many like me considering going back to school give up because they don’t believe in themselves. I thought that too. Now, I know that if you work hard you aren’t taking something away from your children, even though it feels like it sometimes. If anything, you are setting an example for them. When they are faced with a situation that is difficult, they will remember how hard you worked, and they will gain the confidence in themselves they need to succeed.