This I Believe

Jennifer - Goshen, Indiana
Entered on November 19, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe that my mom is smiling down on me, very proud that I am following my dreams and continuing my path to a Bachelor’s Degree.

When I first started college at the age of 18, I was not as focused as I should have been. After two years, the school put me on academic suspension because of my grades. Prior to that, I had given up on school. My mom was very sick and my family was dealing not only with her illnesses, but also with my younger brother who had been getting into a lot of trouble.

Three years ago, I decided to go back to school. I knew that it was going to be a very hard journey to complete because not only was I older, I also still doubted myself. My first semester I was astonished to receive mostly A’s in my classes. I can still hear the pride in my mom’s voice when I told her I had made the Dean’s List. I was lucky that my mom got to see me graduate from Ivy Tech in May of 2007 with an Associates degree. To see the greatest smile on my mom’s face made me swell with emotion.

Right before my mom died, I had applied here to Goshen College. I was trying to find a college to get my Bachelor’s degree. My mom had approached me around Thanksgiving with the question of why I did not just work toward finishing school with a Bachelor’s degree instead of working toward another Associate’s degree. I had started working on another Associates degree because I felt that I was not smart enough to accomplish a Bachelor’s degree. I began my search and started looking at Goshen College and Indiana University–South Bend.

The past struggles I had academically made me question my ability to get into either college. I did not hear anything from Goshen College so I did not think I had gotten in. Then one day my Admissions counselor called me and asked me some questions. She said that she believed in me and was going to take my application to the Admissions Board. A few weeks later, I found out I was accepted. Prior to being admitted or accepted, I had never stepped foot on campus. I had been by it. I had read about it. I just had never been here. I cannot explain why I chose to come here except that it just felt like I was supposed to be here.

I never got the opportunity to tell my mom that I had been accepted, nor did she get to see me move on to campus. The weekend of her death, I called my mom on Friday and we discussed our plans for Christmas for the coming year. We hung up the phone after a great conversation. I had a nagging feeling that I should call her all day Saturday and Sunday morning. That Sunday morning I got the worst news possible: my mom had passed away. I rarely get phone calls from my brother. I was in complete shock when he called to let me know that they had found her dead. I was devastated.

My mom was struggling with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart, kidney, and lung problems. She spent February and March 2007 in a nursing home because of a knot she had cut out of the back of her neck. It was over two inches deep and an inch wide. In January of 2008, she went to the hospital with Pneumonia. After three days, the hospital released her even though she was not completely over it.

She never let on to the family that she was not feeling well. Whenever anyone needed anything like food, gas, or money for bills, she would always help if she had the money herself. She was always willing to lend a hand if I needed it. She helped me to get a car when mine proved to be not safe. When I was frustrated with school or had a bad day, she would provide a shoulder that I could lean on. She never judged anyone. She loved kids very much. She was a second grandma to my cousin’s children. She would help babysit them, play with them, and buy them little gifts.

I can feel my mom’s presence as I go through school, deal with holidays, and relationships. With every step I take and decision I make, I truly believe that my mom is up in heaven smiling down on me. I believe she is very proud of my prior accomplishments and that I am going to realize her dreams for me to get my Bachelor’s Degree.